Are you worried your loved one may be addicted to video games? You're not alone. Though it is not an officially recognized mental disorder, mental health professionals have recognized there is a segment of individuals who are addicted to video gaming.

These professionals have also created specialized programs assisting those addicted toward recovery. Learning the warning signs and symptoms of video game addiction for yourself is the beginning in helping your loved one toward recovery.

Symptoms Of Addiction

Dr. Hilarie Cash PhD of reSTART Internet Addiction Recovery Program has outlined criteria defining video game and internet addiction:

  • Increasing amounts of time spent on gaming activities
  • Heightened sense of euphoria while involved in gaming activities
  • Craving more time on the computer and Internet
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Feeling restless when not engaged in the activity
  • Being dishonest with others
  • Computer use interfering with job/school performance
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of behavior
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Physical changes such as weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches or carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities

Is Video Game Addiction Real?

In 2007, the American Psychiatric Association ruled they did not officially consider video game addiction a mental disorder. Though many hope this will soon change, more remain unconvinced it is a legitimate mental health disorder.

Unconvinced, programs like reSTART see an increase in the need of not only treatment programs, but recognition of the addiction itself.

In recent years, psychiatrists and addiction medicine specialists have taken notice of the impact on both youth and adults in regards to consuming gaming material, all throughout the world. In the meantime, video game addicts have few options for treatment besides a few private specialized clinics, a handful of well-educated practitioners and a few online treatment programs.

Addiction Or Normal Behavior: Where's The Line?

A recent article from the Algemeiner documents the difficulty in distinguishing between a video game addict, and an ordinary gamer. After close examination, ordinary users of video games can walk away from their games, while the addict remains glued to his screen, ignoring his basic needs, relationships, job and life.

The line between healthy and unhealthy habits continues to blur as video games become more available on most mobile devices, and the social acceptability of spending swaths of time glued to one's phone increases. In the Algemeiner article, one gaming addict admits his new Smartphone lead to his relapse, as the phone so easily enabled him to return to his old habits.

Intervention And Treatment Centers

The symptoms and signs stated above are a few indications someone may have an issue with their video gaming. If you have concerns about the video gaming habits of a loved one, a consultation with a mental health professional or reaching out to a treatment program is highly recommended in determining if intervention is necessary.