Gaming can turn into a digital drug

Written by Dr. Andrew Doan & Brooke Strickland on .

There is much controversy surrounding gaming and the addictive nature of video games. Many people deny the power that gaming has on the mind and brush it off as an easy, harmless way to pass the time. For others, their marriages, their jobs, their health, and ultimately their lives are on the brink of complete destruction because of an addiction to games. Video games are like digital drugs that rewire the brain for good when used appropriately and moderately; however, like pharmaceutical drugs, can also harm if overused.

Video games are a form of a digital drug that fills egos and gives them a boost of importance, making them feel good. Because of the enormous digital buffet of video games out there, both online and for gaming consoles, people can get to the games whenever and wherever they want it. There is always going to be a game that appeals to every person.  Not everyone will become addicted to video games. And, for kids (and even teens & adults) that are playing age-appropriate games in controlled amounts of time, there can be clear benefits.

Video games are not inherently bad – there are many educational ones out there as well as those that can be great activities for families to play together for game night. The concern is: has gaming become an obsession?  Have you begun to use games as a way to push aside real life difficulties that you’ve been facing?  Are you seeing a decline in work performance, school performance, or dysfunction in your family or social life? If so, trouble is on the horizon. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when: continual digital overdoses will result in serious problems.  Gaming can be a form of a digital drug.  Gaming addiction allows kids, teens, and adults to “get high” on the internet.  Sure, there is no alcohol being ingested or drug being physically injected, but games can create the same state of ecstasy when used repeatedly. Just like drug use, the brain is conditioned to want it again, again, and again, until there are new pathways and brain wave patterns formed.

Gaming addiction is very real and very dangerous. If you or someone you know is hooked on games, visit and contact a local therapist trained in video game addiction.

By Brooke Strickland