10 Negative Effects of Video Game Addiction | Online competitive Games.
I typed the negative effects of video game addiction, especially for online competitive games, because I was once a hardcore gamer.
If you define a hardcore gamer only by playing 8-10 hours a day or losing sleep to be online, then I am not in your definition of a hardcore gamer.
In my case, I played 14-16 hours a day, surviving only on chips and coke for days, and if the internet was down for some reason, God had to save those poor internet provider souls.
I stopped advancing in my career, lost the love of my life, and avoided phone calls and interactions with real people as much as possible as if they were the problems, not me.
I avoided calls from my parents and stayed 1200 miles away from them for no reason.
The worst of these all was, I knew the reasons behind my failure, and every night, I promised myself to stop playing video games from the next day; I never did.
But, now I am completely free from video game addiction for the last six months, and life seems to have changed for me.
Without quitting video game addiction, I couldn’t even have written this article.
I have written one article on the science behind video game addiction. The link is given below.
Your brain on video game addiction- Dopamine exhaustion
This article will discuss the 10 negative effects of video game addictions that most of us face.
These negative effects didn’t only affect me but also my friends, online communities suffering from the same online competitive video game addiction.
Note* There are always negative effects of any addiction, and video game addiction is no exception.
I am not against playing video games, but I am against our impulsive behavior, and I am against our unconscious living.
Also, I have focused explicitly on online competitive games because I believe a game becomes more addictive or, in other words, ‘fun’ when it is played with friends and when there is competitiveness involved in it.
1. Losing the capacity to love
One of the most considerable negative effects of video game addiction is losing the capacity to love.
Here, love doesn’t represent only intimate love between couples, but a general emotion we feel towards other people.
We don’t feel any emotions towards our parents, our friends, or towards any other person.
We don’t feel like talking with them; we avoid their company as much as possible and only think about playing games with friends whom we never meet face to face.
This is also true with romantic relationships.
You talk with your partner or your crush, and there is always this neediness in you.
You need their attention and love, but there is nothing to offer from your side. Your own vessel is empty.
It is not that you don’t crave love, you do, but it is your neediness to make you happy for this unhappy feeling you have.
It is this neediness that changes your personality.
It is this emotional dependence on others that causes your unhappiness.
- “Tell me I am beautiful.”
- “Tell me you like me.”
- “Tell me I am talented.”
Some partners try to give their attention and show their love, but still, it is not enough because the level of happiness you receive from games is way more than this.
You go back to playing video games in the hope that this will make you feel better.
At the end of the day, you feel worse.
When you have an abundance of love to share, your happiness increases.
People like to be around you because you are fun to talk to.
You start enjoying other’s company, you start enjoying talking with your parents or your spouse, and you start loving your life.
This happens when you quit video games addiction.
2. Losing interest in the things you loved before.
The negative effects of video game addiction don’t only end in losing the capacity to love people but also losing the capacity to love your work and other areas of life.
You were passionate about things before, which made you feel alive, but after playing video games for too many long hours, you don’t feel that passion anymore.
There is no good feeling while doing these activities. There is no interest.
In my case, I always want to write stories and read fiction.
Moreover, I like to run in the evenings and keep myself healthy.
But, sooner than I knew, I lost interest in reading and writing. I couldn’t even write a single sentence.
Reading a single page was like a chore, leading to frustration because this was the single most important thing in my life.
I also wanted to learn guitar, but I left it in the middle.
The list also includes cooking, riding bikes, and travelling. I even felt bored watching a good movie.
But, once I quit video games from my life, the lost interest returned.
I started enjoying the small things like the orange sunset or the morning chirruping of birds. I have more energy and endless creativity once I sit on my chair to write.
This happens because of your dopamine imbalance.
When you become a video game addict, you constantly chase the high hit of dopamine you received earlier.
But competitive online games don’t only give you a dopamine hit.
You play games with your friends, and there is competitiveness in the game.
Therefore, other happy chemicals like serotonin and oxytocin are also released in your brain, making the game even more addictive.
3. Social Anxiety
Of course, there will be social anxiety once you start living in the digital world instead of the real world.
The world of video games gives us a false identity of ourselves.
It makes us feel good by progressing from one stage to another. It makes us feel like we somehow matter to this digital world because, in this world, your friends are dependent on you.
You slay the enemies and carry your troops to winning.
This gives a false ego boost which is only helpful in the gaming world.
In this world, you have the capacity to do your work and also have self-respect.
But, this ego boost doesn’t help in the real world.
In the real world, you don’t save people and take them to victory. You don’t even perform a small responsibility in the real world like making the bed in the morning.
In the real world, we are nothing compared to the gaming world.
Moreover, we don’t have the capacity to perform our duty, and there is no self-respect in this actual world.
This world doesn’t make us feel good. It makes us depressed.
So, we don’t like the real world, and because of this uneasy feeling, we play more to feel good.
When we don’t have self-respect and consider ourselves a failure in the actual world, we try to maintain distance from people.
There comes anxiety in a social group or meeting a new person because our brain is not used to this true world.
Our brains constantly tell us that ‘something is wrong and as we feel uncomfortable. “Go back to your online friend” is good because that makes you happy.
So, instead of interacting and having genuine fun, we are back again in the community because this is safe, this is comforting, and nobody can hurt us.
4. Your productivity decreases dramatically
Most of us think if we play games, our productivity hours decrease.
So, we plan that we will play for only 2- 3 hours daily, and the rest we will focus on working.
This strategy works if our dopamine level is balanced.
But, losing time is not the case why our productivity decreases.
Our productivity decreases, and as mentioned above, because of our losing interest in our work.
If we have deadlines and really care about our job, we could complete our work by stressing ourselves.
The resultant work will obviously be not good, but at least our work will be done.
Doing work because our job is in danger and doing work because we like it makes a lot of difference in the final product.
Most of the time, we will procrastinate in our work and try to finish at the deadline.
Again, if our work doesn’t have any external pressure, it becomes challenging even to start our project.
Perhaps, you are a YouTuber, and posting new content is your job.
But, now, even to write a concept of your new video seems backbreaking. You sit there for hours and rummage in your brain, but all you could think is going back to your game.
The frustration of this inability of producing anything makes you feel stressed, and you say, “Fu*k it, let’s play today. I will work from tomorrow. I can’t take this anymore.”
The next day repeats the same story.
5. Low Self-Esteem
Self-esteem is the confidence in our capability to do our work and have this deep belief that happiness is our birthright.
A high self-esteem person has self-respect and self-efficacy.
In other words, self-esteem is the opinion about yourself.
Your self-confidence, happiness, achieving success both in your career and relationship depends significantly on your self-esteem.
A person with low self-esteem suffers from depression and anxiety. They have anger issues and always try to find someone else to blame.
A person with low self-esteem craves higher self-esteem people, but they never match. Again, a relationship where both partners have low self-esteem results in chaos.
Therefore, self-esteem is important, and video game addiction is a sure way to destroy our self-esteem.
This is probably the most significant negative effects of video game addiction.
Your confidence in your capability to fulfil your responsibility decreases because of video game addiction.
This is a massive setback for your character. Once you cannot meet the demands of reality, you suffer failure in life one after another.
This leads to self-doubts and troubles in life.
Moreover, you don’t respect yourself. You say I don’t deserve this or that, and happiness is not for me because I don’t deserve to be happy.
It is just a story your addictive brain is telling you, which is not true.
We all are capable of things way more than we can think of. We just need to get ourselves up everytime we fall and strive for the best.
It is as simple as that.
If you want to live an extraordinary life, start with quitting your addiction first.
6. Increase in your impulsive behavior
Living on impulses is unconscious living.
It may sound boring to read, but conscious living is healthy living and happy living.
Let me explain.
Our brain likes immediate gratification. There is no doubt about that.
We mindlessly browse our Facebook or Instagram feed over and over again, after every few minutes.
Because we want to see if there is anything new, anything that makes us feel better instantly.
Again, you saw your favourite chocolate ice cream, and you bought it.
To make you feel better instantly.
There is nothing wrong to make you feel better. We all deserve to be happy, after all.
The problem arises when we repeat the behaviour over and over again without any self-control.
Video games make us happy, and once we start to make this an addiction, we begin to lose our self-control.
We become what we practice everyday.
If we fail to practice self-control everyday, we become good at failing self-control.
Our impulsive behavior increases, and we immediately go for the thing that makes us feel better instantly.
The process becomes so automatic; we don’t even realize what is causing the downfall of our life.
The negative effects of video game addiction don’t only affect our behaviors; it affects our identity.
7.Rush and Stress
There is this constant rush in our head, always searching for something that will make our lives better.
We constantly strive for this thing, and we cannot sit and relax because, if we do, we may miss the opportunity.
But, in the end, we achieve nothing.
We start to live in the future and forget that we are already living in the present.
We think about future problems and opportunities and think about the lost opportunity in the past.
We can’t even sit peacefully in our chairs; our minds wander and start fidgeting around.
This happens because of our addicted brain.
We are used to the hit of dopamine and other feeling good chemicals.
Dopamine is futuristic.
For example, feeling the thrill after ordering pizza in your swiggy app is nothing but your dopamine rush.
Perhaps, you live on the fourth floor, so you run the stairs after grabbing the pizza from the delivery guy.
You just can’t wait.
But, once your stomach fills, your excitement goes down.
But, in video games, our thrill never goes down. There is new information in every step; there are surprises at every level.
Once we make a habit of this dopaminergic thrill, we start to live on the future rather than the present.
Once you live in the future, your stress level increases because there is so much to do in the future.
There is so much to achieve, and you have so little time.
You are going to write a novel, you are going to have a good physique, and there are so many good things that are going to happen.
All this rush and excitement makes you forget that you are in the present. It is today that makes all the difference and not tomorrow.
8. Detachment from the reality
Whenever I ask people why they play video games, they say, “Video games help me escape reality.”
It seems like reality is a nasty thing, and we should create distance from it as much as possible.
But, isn’t reality everything.
The truth is you can never escape reality. No matter what you do, you will always be here. Here!
Suppose you are in debt, and the emi is due next month, but you don’t have that money to pay.
Most people start playing video games or, worse, start drinking because they don’t want to feel this discomfort.
This may feel good temporarily, but this will not solve their problem or increase their current problem.
The only way to solve our problem is to face it.
It sounds harsh and rude, but it’s the truth, and most of the time, the truth hurts.
People who are video game addicts live in a world of video games.
Detachment from reality simply means escaping our responsibility everyday and indulging ourselves in the pleasure of games.
But, we are not responsible for this behaviour. This is how our brain works.
Our brain’s primary purpose is survival.
It always wants to feel good because that means everything is okay and things are good.
It doesn’t care where we get this good feeling.
So, our brain tries to repeat those activities, which makes us feel good over and over again.
We just created a habit by accident, and there is nothing to feel guilty and ashamed about.
If you fail to break your video games addiction over several tries, then this is normal too.
Breaking addiction or a bad habit is as hard as crossing the Pacific by swimming.
Moreover, a detached person from reality has different values for his survival.
He values the characters of his games more than his tax filing; he values his online community more than his real relationships and values the digital world where he is the king more than this cruel real world.
9. Emotional Suppression and Depression
Your moods keep changing throughout the day, you lose your appetite to eat, and you sometimes think: what is the point of living.
You have sleepless nights, thinking things about your past or the future, and sometimes a breakdown in crying in the middle of the night.
The common symptoms of Depressions are given below:
- Feeling sad most of the time, and sometimes you are enjoying this sadness.
- Feeling ashamed, guilty, and worthless.
- Difficulty in thinking and taking decisions.
- Thought of death or suicide.
- Low energy without doing anything.
- Loss of interest in things that you enjoyed before.
- Try to become busy but do things that are not productive.
Moreover, people who are video game addicts suppress their emotions thinking nobody would understand them.
This constant suppressing of their negative emotions can lead to a condition called Alexithymia. In this condition, a person fails to determine the emotions they feel. They cannot name the emotions they are feeling.
Also, they fail to understand the emotions of others which can lead to social detachment and empathetic behaviour.
10. Loss of physical health
The negative effects of video game addiction don’t end only with mental health. It does affect your physical health as well.
Sitting on the chair for hours doesn’t only make you fat and create spinal problems, but your other physical activity gets reduced.
A video game addict doesn’t even want to take a walk because that is time-consuming, and he doesn’t have time to go out.
Moreover, he forgets to eat properly because he gets lost in the world of video games for hours.
This poor diet leads to other physical diseases such as obesity, malnutrition, cholesterol, heart diseases, diabetics, etc.
Some researchers say that video games do affect our eyes.
We are primarily aware of the physical health problem of sitting for long hours and not doing any physical activities.
Try to do some research on this; maybe your physical health will inspire you to take steps to quit your video game addictions if you have any.
The definition of addiction may be different for everybody.
For some, it may be a behaviour that is out of control and harming their daily life.
For some, it depends on the aggressive repetitiveness despite seeing the negative consequences.
For me, if I dislike something but still do that activity because of impulsiveness, then it is an addiction. It doesn’t matter how often I do it.
If I do it once a year, then that is enough to call it an addiction.
This is not the scientific definition of addiction, of course, but this definition helped me quit my own addiction of playing video games for good.
There are other negative effects of playing video games like aggressive behaviour, poor academic performance, losing focus and concentration, which I personally experienced.
Let me know what are the negative effects of video game addiction you experienced at firstname.lastname@example.org .
I will wait for your emails.