Playing video games is enjoyed by more than 2.2 billion people, which makes it one of the most popular hobbies in the world. This beloved hobby is gaining new fans every year because it can be equally enjoyed by men, women, and children of all ages.
While playing video games has been proven to improve coordination, memory and other brain functions, it can also be harmful to health when gaming becomes an obsession. Video game addiction is a real problem that is affecting more and more people around the world every year.
Recently, Mr. Productive Muslim has written a post describing how he got past gaming addiction and, more importantly, how you can use gaming to become a better member of the community.
He explains gaming is addictive because it provides gamers with three things; a purpose, a social network, and the feel of winning. However, he also says he was able to overcome the dunyā pleasures by applying the same principles in a more spiritual way.
- Finding purpose in Allah
- Building a network of friends and family who have the same purpose
- Looking to ‘win’ in life just as you would in games
Video Game Addiction – Short Summary
It is estimated that roughly three percent of all video game players are addicted to their favorite hobby. This makes it more addicting than inhaling dangerous household products and gambling. While this problem can affect anyone, it is far more likely to disrupt the lives of young boys.
The primary symptoms of video game addiction are irritability, an inability to stop playing, feeling unsatisfied from other aspects of life and neglecting school or work duties. Someone addicted to video games is also far more likely to suffer from obesity, depression, anxiety and other major health issues.
It is crucial to understand that any addiction is a lower desire and, thus, you shouldn’t be controlled by it.
The Noble Qur’an says:
“And be ye not like those who forgot Allah, and He made them forget their own souls! Such are the rebellious transgressors!” [Al-Quran 59:19]
If you know anyone suffering from gaming addiction, it’s your duty to help them get back on the right path and save them from the clutches of depression.
Video Game Addiction: A Real Issue
Video game addiction is very similar to other common forms of addiction. Playing and succeeding at the games causes the brain to release extra endorphins and dopamine.
These hormones and chemicals essentially help the body feel better than it did before playing video games. This feeling of satisfaction is just naturally stronger in some individuals, so they will have a harder time walking away from the television, computer or smartphone.
However, it’s more than possible to achieve the release of these hormones and feel happiness naturally. An artificial sense of purpose and online friendships should not serve as a replacement for the true purpose and a good relationship with Allah.
Video Game Addiction: Prevention
While it is far from an epidemic, video game addiction needs to be taken very seriously. This is especially true when kids are involved. The problem is much easier to treat and stop when caught early. This is why it is very important to monitor the gaming habits of your loved ones.
There is virtually unlimited access to video games these days, so it is fairly easy to hide any disruptive habits. Look out for the signs and symptoms of this key problem and seek help if needed.
Video Game Addiction: Treatment
Unlike other forms of addiction, it is fairly easy to overcome a problem with video games. Recent health studies have shown that approximately 70 percent of video game addicts can beat their addiction with proper help. Since it is finally starting to be seen as a real mental health issue, it is easier than ever before to treat video game addiction.
In 2018, AboutIslam published a story from a wife worried about the safety of her marriage. The main threat to her family and kids was her husband’s gaming addiction. Her letter and the response by medical experts might help you learn about new methods to battle addiction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy works to control the obsessive thoughts centered around video games. This is a gradual process to help the patient realize they can live a happy life without having to endlessly play games.
These therapy sessions can be performed individually with a medical professional or in a group setting. Severe cases of video game addiction may need to be treated with the use of medication and placement in a detox facility.
Video games are a great source of entertainment, education and social interaction when used appropriately. Unfortunately, a small portion of the population simply cannot handle the feelings of excitement and joy provided by gaming. It will be impossible to fully eliminate video game addiction, but learning more about this mental health issue can help prevent it from becoming a much bigger problem in the future.
“After graduating, (many many years ago) Khaled Shaalan worked as a university assistant for a brief time. Eventually, he started exploring digital entrepreneurship, established a few technology websites and has dedicated his life work to scientific research. Currently, he travels the world with his team studying video gaming phenomena.”