This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Gaming is great, right? It may even be the reason you’re on this site. It can be an awesome way to pass the time, to socialize, and to challenge yourself and gain a sense of accomplishment.
But can gaming be an addiction? The short answer is yes, in the same way anything can be an addiction.
We have to remember that technology is both a blessing and a curse. It can be a tremendous resource and open us up to nearly infinite possibilities. Yet, at the same time, technology, including gaming, can have a negative impact on our mental health.
What Is an Impulse Control Disorder?
People with an impulse control disorder, according to the website for American Addiction Centers, generally have trouble regulating their behaviors or emotions. Some common varieties of impulse control disorder may include being a shopaholic, a kleptomaniac, a pyromaniac, etc.
What makes it technically a disorder is the fact that it is negatively affecting the person’s life, and possibly the lives of those around them.
Thankfully, we are starting to have a better grasp of impulse control disorders. So, if you would like to learn more, you can check out the useful online resources available through the likes of BetterHelp: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/impulse-control-disorder/
If you feel like you’re not in control when it comes to how much you are gaming, it may very well be an impulse control disorder. It might be labeled “compulsive gaming disorder.”
But how can you know the difference between being a big fan of gaming and having a full-on addiction?
Read on for five problems that can help you identify if you are facing an addiction. That said, be sure to consult a medical expert for a proper diagnosis if you are concerned.
Your Relationships Are Suffering
Have you lost friends or romantic partners because of your gaming habits? Have you spent less time than you should have with family and friends because you’re always gaming?
If so, this could very well indicate that gaming has taken over your life. Your relationships should not be suffering do to how much you are gaming.
You Can’t Stop Thinking About Gaming
Are you always thinking about gaming, even when you’re not gaming or when you should be focusing on something else? This may indicate that you have an obsession with gaming that may come down to an impulse control disorder.
Your Gaming Is a Coping Mechanism
If your gaming serves as a way to cope, you should think long and hard about addressing the root causes of your pain. Addictions often function as an outlet, and gaming can be a relatively healthy outlet so long as it’s carried out in moderation.
But if gaming has become one of the only ways that you feel happy, or if it’s become a coping mechanism, pay close attention.
You’ve Lied About Your Gaming
If you’ve been dishonest about how much you’ve been gaming, chances are that you may have a problem. Why else would you cover up how much you’ve been playing if it isn’t already negatively affecting your life or if you don’t feel insecure about how much you’re gaming?
Feelings of shame, regret, and/or guilt can help indicate to us when we’ve lost control over our behavior.
Your Overall Well-being Is Suffering
To be considered a true disorder, your gaming addiction must be negatively affecting your overall well-being. If you feel like your gaming habit has diminished the quality of your life, then that’s a sure sign that you’re having trouble controlling your behavior.
If you suspect you may have a gaming addiction, don’t worry. Millions of people have gotten help for all manner of addiction. Impulse control disorder is likely on the rise, no doubt in part to the increase of technology in our lives, so pay careful attention and get the help you may need.