Video game addiction is considered to be a psychological addiction, as opposed to a physical one. A person who lives with this type of addiction feels compelled to spend a lot of time playing video games. The most addictive types of video games are massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG).
This type of play involves the participants taking on the identity of a character in the game. People who are heavily involved in World of Warcraft and RuneScape are at risk for developing a video game addiction. Over time, the addicted person's world starts to become smaller as they isolate themselves from social contact with people in the brick-and-mortar world.
Other signs of video game addiction include the following:
- Spending several hours each day playing video games
- Neglecting work or family responsibilities in order to play
- Becoming defensive about the amount of time spent playing when confronted about it
- Using sick or vacation days to get more time to play video games
- Experiencing physical symptoms, such as dry eyes, headaches or backaches, as a result of playing video games
- Neglecting to eat, sleep, or bathe in order to play • Feeling angry or depressed if you can't play video games
Video game addiction appears to be more likely to affect males than females. A study conducted by Stanford University's School of Medicine found that when men play video games, the portion of the brain that generates feelings of reward is more stimulated than when women engage in the same activity. Players of both genders are motivated to win, but men are more motivated to do so.
This desire to conquer the game and do well may make men more likely to develop a video game addiction. A video game addiction may also develop from the rush that a player gets when they achieve a high score.