Video game addiction is not yet recognized by the American Medical Association as a diagnosable disorder. However, recent studies show that close to 15 percent of all gamers exhibit addictive symptoms, such as video game withdrawal. Moreover, nearly one in 10 youth and teenage gamers (ages 8 to 18) can be classified as addicted to gaming.
Video game addiction is sometimes known as computer games addiction or online gaming addiction. This addiction can occur with both single-player video games and online, multi-player, role-playing games. In the former, the video game addiction focuses on completing a mission or beating a high score. In the latter, players have access to a virtual community in which they may feel more accepted. Video game addiction becomes a substitute for real-life connections.
A major reason for video game addiction is the fact that such games are designed to be addictive. Video game designers create games that are challenging enough to keep players engaged, but not so hard that they soon give up. Thus, as with other forms of addictive behaviors, gamers often feel that success is just out of reach. In this respect, video game addiction and online gaming addiction mirror gambling addiction.
It can be hard to distinguish between a person addicted to gaming and an avid gamer. Teens who are addicted to gaming may exhibit irritability when unable to play a favorite game. Additionally, video game addiction symptoms can include signs of isolation, and lying about time spent playing games. Some of the physical signs of video game addiction are carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and fatigue. Therefore, gaming addictions can result in negative consequences for health, academics, work, and relationships.
Sources: US National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health), National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens