Casually playing video games is one of the coolest ways to relax and have fun, but everything changes when this habit becomes an addiction and starts to take up too much time in people's lives. And the matter is serious: in 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) started to classify this addiction as a mental health disorder. Fortunately, there are several ways to combat this situation. You can, for example, impose time limits on games and explore other activities. The process won't be easy, so don't be afraid to ask friends, family and professionals for help. Otherwise, read the tips in this article and get started now!
Method 1 of 4: Setting Limits on Your Video Game Access
Step 1. Set a video game specific daily time
Health professionals recommend that school-age children and teenagers spend no more than two hours a day in front of screens, and adults should also limit this exposure (which also leads to a sedentary lifestyle). Therefore, set a specific daily limit if you have any such difficulties.
- For example: Decide that you can play a maximum of 30 minutes of video games per day.
- Set this time limit on your cell phone or other device to stay on top of the bill.
- Don't give up and don't get too frustrated when you run out of time for a bit, as long as it does happen from time to time. It's normal! Try to learn from the experience and think of ways to prevent it from happening again, like asking a friend of yours to keep an eye out.
setting the right limits will help you keep this habit from turning into an addiction for good, but it might be better to give up electronic games if the situation is already getting out of hand.
Step 2. Do not install video game devices in your bedroom
You might be tempted to play video games all the time if you have a console, computer, or other device in your room. Do not install anything like this in this space, which is specifically made for rest.
- If you play on your cell phone, turn it off at night or store it away from your bed when you go to sleep.
- Playing before going to sleep can reduce the quality of your sleep. In addition to not installing any screen in your room, avoid playing games anyway for at least two hours before going to bed.
- Many people addicted to video games begin to have sleep problems when they decide to fight the situation. Don't worry if this happens to you: look for ways to relax, such as meditating for a few minutes or taking a warm bath.
Step 3. Install apps or extensions that block your access to games
If you play games on your mobile or computer, install applications or browser extensions that limit your access to games. Some work with specific games, while others lock the device as a whole for the set time.
- Download a program like Game Boss to your computer. It blocks access to gaming websites.
- If you play in web browser, download a StayFocused extension for Google Chrome or LeechBlock for Mozilla Firefox.
- On mobile, you can download an app like Offtime or BreakFree.
Step 4. Ask people you trust to keep an eye on your video game time
Tell your trusted friends and family that you are trying to cut down on the time you spend playing. Ask them to keep an eye on your progress and get your attention when necessary.
- For example, ask a friend to call or text your cell phone at the time you are most likely to play video games.
- Ask people to respect your decision and not create situations of temptation or provocation. For example, maybe your brother can avoid playing when you're around.
- Don't be shy about asking for help. Just say something simple like "I'm trying to stop playing so much video games. Can you remind me when I get past half an hour?"
Method 2 of 4: Creating Healthier Habits
Step 1. Try to be distracted by other activities
You'll be less tempted to sink back into games if you get busy with other activities. Take the opportunity to rediscover old hobbies or look for new and interesting things! Take time for examples like the following:
- Walk or practice outdoor activities.
- Spend more time with friends or family.
- Do creative activities.
Step 2. Transform the video game into a form of reward
If games are hindering your academic or professional performance or other important activities, make it a habit to take care of them before and only after resorting to the video game.
For example, if you have a school assignment to deliver and do the dishes, do all of that before you start playing
Step 3. Do other relaxing activities if you usually play when you're stressed
There are people who get addicted to games because they see them as a relaxing activity. If that's your case, think of alternative ways to combat stress in your everyday life. See some examples:
- Do yoga.
- Practice exercises.
- Draw, write or listen to music.
Step 4. Take time to take care of yourself every day
Video game addiction is capable of interfering with even the most basic things in everyday life. In that case, you may stop taking care of yourself and end up getting more tired and unwell. That's why it's important to set aside a specific time each day for certain activities, such as:
- Eat at least three healthy meals throughout the day.
- Sleep between seven and nine hours a night if you are an adult and eight and ten if you are a teenager.
- Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
- Take care of your hygiene: take a shower every day, brush your teeth often, etc.
- Take care of your responsibilities and household chores.
if you have trouble remembering to do these things, set reminders on your cell phone or ask a trusted friend or family member for help.
Method 3 of 4: Seeking Professional Help
Step 1. See a doctor and ask about ways to control your addiction
See a doctor if you are unable to fight the addiction on your own. He will have interesting and useful tips and advice for you.
- It may not be easy for you to open up to a doctor, but remember that their role is to help solve your problem. Say something like "I think I play a lot of video games, but I can't stop myself. What do you think?"
- If you are a child or teenager, talk to your parents or another trusted adult. If necessary, this person will look for a suitable professional.
- Tell your doctor if you think a video game addiction is causing problems in your body, such as dry eyes or headaches, muscle and joint pain.
Step 2. Try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a very useful technique for more severe cases of video game addiction. In it, the professional helps the patient to recognize and change harmful behaviors and thoughts - and that are making the situation worse. Ask your acquaintances for advice from experienced therapists.
- If you are a child or teenager, ask your parents to see a therapist for your treatment.
- You can also go to therapy with your family if your video game addiction is having a negative impact on your relationships.
Step 3. Seek support groups if you feel isolated
Group therapy can be a good opportunity to meet people who are experiencing problems similar to yours. This environment ends up being a place of comfort and exchange of experiences. Ask your doctor or professional therapist for advice.
- Members of a therapy group can share positive experiences, talk about problems they are facing, and encourage each other's progress. But don't worry: no one is required to speak up!
- You can even search for support communities on the internet, especially if you don't find anything interesting in your city.
Step 4. Ask the doctor if he can prescribe drugs to control the addiction
Some studies indicate that the antidepressant bupropion can help fight video game addiction. If the other methods don't work, ask your doctor or psychiatrist if it's a good fit for you.
- Pass a list of the medications you take to your doctor or psychiatrist. Bupropion and other medications can cause interactions and negative reactions when mixed.
- Ask your doctor about the risks and side effects of bupropion.
Step 5. Go to a rehab clinic if the case is very serious
You may need to go to rehab if your addiction starts to affect your health and all areas of your life. Some of these clinics work on an inpatient basis, when patients go through a "detox" process of what causes the problem. Search these centers on the internet or ask your doctor or psychiatrist for directions.
- You can also look for a clinic that does not work on an inpatient basis, but on free therapy sessions and other types of treatment.
- Don't be afraid or embarrassed about starting the rehabilitation process. This shows that you have the courage and willingness to improve.
also talk to your trusted friends and family and ask if anyone knows of a quality clinic.
Step 6. Address other issues that may be contributing to the addiction
Video game addiction is often accompanied by other problems - such as depression or anxiety. If you think there is a relationship in your case, see a doctor or therapist as soon as possible. He will treat these other conditions, which can make it easier to fight the addiction itself.
- Your doctor or therapist may recommend a combination of therapy and medication.
- Millions of people live with anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Don't feel alone and helpless!
Method 4 of 4: Identifying Video Game Addiction
Step 1. Be aware of obsessive thoughts about video games
You can be addicted if you keep thinking about your favorite game all the time, such as during the day and even at bedtime to try to sleep.
It's normal to be eager to play that game that's just been released, but it becomes a problem when it doesn't leave your thoughts - even when you try to focus on other things
Step 2. Notice any increase in the time you spend playing video games
One of the main signs of addiction arises when a person needs to play video games for longer and longer periods of time. Pay attention to this factor in your day to day and keep an eye out if you notice that you are more and more dependent.
It can happen that you lose track of time and end up playing a lot more than you intended
Step 3. Look for signs of restlessness or irritability when you try to play less
As with any addiction, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to cut down on the time you spend playing video games (or stop altogether). The main signs are:
- Irritability, anxiety, anger or depression when you can't play.
- Change in your appetite and sleep cycle when you spend too much time without playing.
Step 4. See if games are creating problems in other areas of your life
Video game addiction can affect all other areas of life, such as studies, work, relationships and health care. Keep an eye on these factors and signs that something is wrong, such as:
- Have a drop in academic performance.
- Spend less and less time with friends or family and argue with people about their gambling habits.
- Forgetting to eat, sleep and take care of your hygiene.
- Lose interest in other relaxing activities.
Step 5. Reflect on whether you have tried (but failed) to control your addiction
If you've tried to stop or at least cut down on the time you spend playing video games, but you can't, it's probably because the situation is already getting out of hand. Reflect if this is the case.
don't blame yourself if you tried to overcome your addiction but you couldn't. Even milder cases can be difficult to fight, and it's normal to face some obstacles along the way.
Step 6. Reflect on whether you use games as a way to escape your problems
There is a risk that you may be addicted (or almost addicted) if video games have become an outlet for the stress of your everyday life. Stay alert with the following signs:
- Feeling of guilt, anxiety, hopelessness or depression.
- Conflicts at home, school, college or work.
- General unhappiness with your life.
- Anyone is susceptible to becoming addicted to video games, but this is even more dangerous for those under 25 or other mental health problems.
- In addition to interfering with relationships, academic performance and work, video game addiction can have a strong impact on physical health. If left untreated, the condition is capable of causing problems such as repetitive strain injuries, obesity and even seizures (due to flashing lights and colors on the screen all the time).