Gaming Addiction

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.

Is gaming addiction really a “serious” problem?

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:


  • A preoccupation with playing games throughout the day, whether at work or in school.
  • Lying to others about gaming habits.
  • Becoming so involved in the games that basic needs such as personal hygiene, sleep and proper meals are neglected.
  • Emergence of physical symptoms like backaches, dry eyes, or headaches after playing games. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also indicate excessive gaming.
  • Choosing games over spending free time with family members or friends.

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.

Gaming addiction can be treated like its fellow addictions. Counseling helps to reduce the anxiety associated with not fulfilling the urge to play, and can also help to resolve inner conflicts that may have contributed to the addiction. Family support in helping the gamer overcome his addiction is important.



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.

It is never too late to seek help. If you would like to obtain an assessment, please obtain a referral from your doctor or call 65558828 for an appointment.