Computer addiction is a special kind of relationship between a person and a computer. The specific emotional attachment of a person to technical means. Another name for the phenomenon is game addiction. Computer games are of interest to many, but not everyone becomes a gambling addict.
Players are conventionally divided into the following categories:
Situational game. People play when there is a favorable external factor, free time or competition. Without the manifestation of an influencing factor, interest in the game disappears.
Episodic game. In this case, people play from time to time and are able to control themselves on their own.
Systematic play. The player is fond of a computer game, but wasting time and failure to fulfill their duties can cause remorse.
Gambling. People in this group perceive play as the meaning of life and spend almost all their time on it.
Even if a person does not have the opportunity to play, he mentally plans his actions after returning to the game. Defeats, unfulfilled duties, unfinished business only stimulate more immersion in the game. In this situation, there is a true gambling addiction.
Possible causes of computer addiction:
- Various mental disorders (psychopathies). Pathological traits of a person’s character, lack of communication, notoriousness and modesty often lead a person to Internet addiction. Some patients use the computer to realize their childhood fears and fantasies;
- Lack of communication. This problem is relevant for children and adolescents whose parents are constantly busy making money;
- Intra-family conflicts. To get away from family scandals, some people plunge into the virtual world, which further aggravates the situation and leads to divorce.
Who is more prone to gambling addiction?
While virtually anyone who plays computer games can become addicted, some groups seem to be more likely to develop unhealthy levels of play. These groups include:
- Children and adolescents;
- People with psychological problems (eg, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety);
- People with a high level of neurocism;
- Impulsive children with poor social skills.
A man by nature strives for achievements in life, it is important for him to achieve goals, to realize himself in the world in every possible way, to conquer new horizons, and so on. Not finding realization in reality, many men (or guys) find themselves in games.
Girls are also prone to gambling addiction, but to a lesser extent than men. They are more likely to look for communication and attention from the opposite sex in online games, which they lack in reality. Children and teenagers are more interested in entertainment.
Stages of gambling addiction
The first stage is preparatory, in which an increase in susceptibility to games develops. Personal qualities such as low self-esteem, inability to control their emotions, lack of desire to accept criticism, aggression, impulsivity and hyperactivity, increased levels of anxiety, depression and stress, a tendency to immerse themselves in a fantasy world, contribute to the development of gambling addiction in adults and children.
The second stage is the stage of winning, in which a perception of the game is formed in the human mind as a way to realize oneself, and sometimes to obtain material benefits. The mind begins to clouder, and even a small win strongly stimulates interest.
The third is the stage of failure, when gamblers find themselves in a closed loop of certain events. The desire to play with them is not always supported by the presence of material opportunities. They spend all available funds and even tend to borrow money.
The fourth is the despair stage. Due to the systematic desire to play, a person loses interest in everything else. Problems arise at school or at work, the social circle changes, the psychological state does not allow him to exist normally in the family. Loved ones get tired of constant deception, debt and negative attitudes and gradually begin to distance themselves. The player often realizes that the reason for everything is addiction, however, all attempts to control himself do not bring a positive result. A depressed psychological state often leads to alcohol or drug abuse, which further aggravates the disease.
And the last is the stage of hopelessness, in which the patient realizes his addiction and realizes that there is practically no probability of hitting the jackpot, nevertheless he continues to play. At the same time, they are ruled by the desire to experience familiar emotions during the game, which is a manifestation of psychological dependence.
Addiction to computer games
Psychotherapists conditionally divide addiction to computer games into two groups: craving for local games and craving for networked online games. By certain symptoms, you can distinguish an ordinary lover to play on a computer from a gambling addict. An addict who needs treatment will experience the following behavioral changes:
- inability to plan your schedule and time;
- neglect of vital matters, for example, study, work, care for appearance;
- aggressive behavior in relation to factors that distract from games;
- no events can make the gambler voluntarily distract himself from the computer;
- during the game, the mood is always good, and when there is no opportunity to do what you love, then the person becomes angry and irritable;
- constantly growing cash “injections” into paid games and various add-ons to them;
- the time that a person spends playing is constantly increasing;
- a constant desire to check if a game update is available;
- disregard for their own hygiene, health and other factors in favor of the game;
- refusal to communicate with others, replacing them with virtual characters.
Long-term games on the computer leave an imprint not only on the mental health of a person, but also on the physical. A game addict constantly experiences the following sensations:
- sleep problems;
- headache and migraine;
- pain in the wrists and back;
- constant sleepiness, fatigue, feeling of weakness;
- increased fatigue;
- acceleration of metabolism;
- increased heart rate and pulse;
- decreased immunity.
There are a large number of different computer games that are interesting in their own way to gamers, but the most dangerous for the psyche are network games. At first, a person simply identifies himself with the hero, then there is a complete dissolution in the virtual world and a departure from reality. People live in cyberspace: they fall in love, make friends, quarrel, and the emotional coloring of relationships on the Internet is much brighter than in real life. There are several important aspects in the psychology of gambling addiction:
- loss of time sense;
- constant feeling of novelty;
- distorted perception of your I;
- change in consciousness;
- antisocial character;
- a sense of virtual power;
- change of the volitional aspect.
The addicted player is so keen on the gameplay that he loses understanding of the passage of time and the concepts of “here and now”. Consciousness gradually ceases to distinguish the real from the virtual. There are cases when people addicted to computer games played for several days in a row, without sleep or rest.
Addiction risk factors
Risk factors for the development of computer addiction can be grouped into three groups:
Insufficient preventive and educational work in the family, weakening of control of occupational health at the computer.
Mass enthusiasm for peers and adults (parents) around the child for computer games and the Internet.
Financial incentive – the ability to win money by playing sweepstakes, online casinos.
Lack of alternative leisure – unwillingness or lack of opportunity to do anything other than a computer.
2) Hereditary biological
Hereditarily conditioned predisposition to the development of a certain type of higher nervous activity. The human genome contains 31 genes that are responsible for the production of mood hormones – neurotransmitters (dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA).
Pre-, peri- and postnatal hazards (harmfulness of the neonatal period), neuroinfections, craniocerebral trauma, intoxication, severe diseases contribute to the development of organic inferiority of the brain and form certain characterological properties of the personality.
Young people with low self-esteem, insecure, emotionally unstable, experiencing difficulties in communication, immersed in the world of their own experiences (introverts), feeling a lack of attention and support from family and friends are more susceptible to addiction to computer games and the Internet.
Computer addiction treatment
If a gambling addict has already developed functional disorders on the part of organs and systems, then psychological help alone is not enough for treatment. It will be necessary to consult a doctor to eliminate acquired physical diseases.
In the early stages, it is difficult to determine the presence of a problem, it clearly does not manifest itself yet, but there are signs of computer addiction, which mean that it is time to talk to a person about his priorities or orient him to contact a psychologist. These symptoms include:
The presence of a sick person of strong irritation when close people try to limit the time of playing or surfing the Internet.
Improving mood during the periods that he spends at the computer.
Computer addiction is manifested in the fact that a person avoids personal communication, prefers correspondence via the Internet or social networks.
The patient refuses to go out, is not interested in anything other than games or searching for something on the Internet, speaks only of his hobby or simply ignores communication with relatives and friends.
Basically, the treatment uses a cognitive-behavioral approach, which includes changing the behavior of the gamer and his perception of his addiction. Treatment can take many forms, including:
- Individual therapy with a psychologist specializing in the treatment of addiction to computer games or with someone who has experience in the treatment of various types of addictions;
- Family therapy, especially if the gambler is a child or teenager;
- Stationary medical institutions;
- Books on gambling addiction treatment;
- Group therapy;
- Drug treatment;
There are many methods of treatment, but in any of them the key to success is the desire to recover, to return to normal life. No desire, no cure.