Games are great – they present a challenge that can usually be overcome with sufficient practice or trial and error, and the satisfaction that comes with success is a powerful reward that reinforces the appeal of the games. Unfortunately, it is easy to get entrenched within the world of gaming, as it is a haven set apart from the stress of the real world. A 2010 study conducted in Singapore, the first comprehensive study of its kind, found that 8.7 percent of students are problem gamers, playing about 37.5 hours a week, twice as many hours as compared to non-addicts.
Some regard gaming addiction as a mild problem that is better than alcoholism, smoking, or drug abuse. While the consequences of the latter addictions are quite devastating in nature, the problems that stem from gaming are more insidious. Both gaming and gambling addictions can be categorised as impulse control disorders – addicts an urge to engage in a certain activity, tension that arises from not fulfilling the need immediately, pleasure from acting upon the urge, and guilt that may appear as a result of engaging in that activity. The signs of problem gaming vary across the different age groups, but there are similarities:
The failure to resist a temptation can exacerbate problems that might have driven someone to gaming in the first place. Relationships with people in the real world can suffer due to the lack of quality time spent with them, and performance at work or in school might decline.
Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Department of Psychological provides assessment for substance and behavioural addictions. We have a dedicated multidisciplinary team of psychiatrists and psychologists that can provide assessment and treatment for your psychological and emotional distress.