People with psychiatric disorders look for escape from their symptoms in various places. A common one for young men is playing video games.
That escape isn’t always healthy: It can turn into an addiction.
A new study looking into video game addiction showed young men with ADHD, OCD, and depression are especially at risk.
They used the following guidelines to determine addiction:
- You think about playing a game all day long
- You spend increasing amounts of time on games
- You play games to forget about real life
- Others have unsuccessfully tried to reduce your game use
- You feel bad when you are unable to play
- You have fights with others (e.g., family, friends) over your time spent on games
- You neglect other important activities (e.g., school, work, sports) to play games
High scores in at least four of those categories suggest a video game addiction.
Another interesting finding was the difference between men and women in their computer-related addictions. Men lean toward online gaming, gambling, and cyber-pornography, while women are more susceptible to social media, texting, and online shopping addictions.
Whatever the addiction is, it’s important for family, friends, and health care providers to watch for signs of one in their loved ones suffering from psychiatric disorders. Healthier escapes from symptoms include being outdoors, exercising, prayer or meditation, and serving others.
Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Mental Health Solutions, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.