Dr. Bean mentioned over-preoccupation with video games, increased irritability, changing moods and difficulty in adapting to other areas of life as the main symptoms of video game addiction.
When asked how this addiction differs between men and women, and which parts of society are most vulnerable to this addiction, he said that men are more likely to play video games than women.
Anthony Bean mentioned the importance of understanding when this really becomes a problem, an addiction, rather than a pastime.
“It is really difficult to identify who is addicted and who is not. There are people out there who play eight to 10 hours a day and have a very rich family and work life,” he said.
“A lot of our clinical work has been showing that there are some anxieties and depression mixed with the gaming aspect and people are using it as a coping mechanism, rather than an addiction tool.”
When queried whether there are any special centers treating video gaming as an addiction and if there are any the criteria that would make it possible to remove these electronic games from the internet and smartphones, he said that in their work on video game addiction they try to understand why people play these games and what sort of gratification they get internally and externally from the game itself.
“We try to balance the various abilities people have, telling them how they can make use of the limited resources they have to overcome the obstacles [they come across as they play],” he explained.
Some psychologists say that, rather than taking game addicts’ smartphones away from them, they encourage them to spend some quality time with their devices for some 30 minutes in the morning, another 30 minutes during lunchtime, etc.
Anthony Bean said this method made a lot of sense.
“We have seen some people playing [video games] for an hour and a half, getting irritable and having to stop. Some people could play for two hours. It really depends on the degree of one’s frustration tolerance and de-emerge oneself from the virtual world and understand oneself better,” he concluded.
Health experts warn that gaming disorders may result in serious problems due to poor sleep, a reduction of physical activity and exposure to sunlight, as well as an unhealthy lifestyle that usually accompanies hardcore gaming.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.