Social Anxiety and Stress May Precede Gaming Addiction

Social Anxiety and Stress May Precede Gaming Addiction

Online gaming addiction has gained more notoriety within the past few years. Though not all gamers become addicted, the practice of playing games online can be very habit-forming. Some experts view massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, as the primary culprits for this addictive behaviour. But according to new research, the addiction to MMORPGs may simply be an expression of social anxieties or psychological distress that was already present in the player’s psyche. Find out how a compulsion for online gaming may be linked to poor mental health in Singapore.

Causes for Gaming Addiction or Overuse

Experts theorise that people become addicted to gaming because of a sense of distress or are experiencing a lack in their real lives. These gamers create an alternate online persona, digital life, and in-game social network to compensate for loneliness, depression, anxiety, body dissatisfaction, stress, or social phobias that they struggle with in real life. They want to escape from the problems and stresses of real life, and they don’t want to deal with people face-to-face. So they immerse themselves in a fictional world where they are in control, where everything seems easier, more exciting, and more fun.

There’s a difference between actual addiction and gaming as a coping mechanism. Excessive use that doesn’t go all the way into addiction may be called “compensatory internet use.” The gamer is using the game to compensate for unmet needs in real life.

Gender Complexities

In studies that explored gamer motivations, researchers found that men tended to play the games for a combination of achievements and social connection. They like the competition, the battles, the mechanics of the game, and the potential for advancement; but they also appreciated socialising with others online. Women appreciated the relationship aspect as well, but more in the sense of teamwork. They also liked exploration and collection aspects of the games.

Ethnic Differences

It’s interesting to note that different cross-cultural studies have revealed slight differences in motivations for gameplay. For example, Malaysian gamers valued competition more highly, while those in India were more interested in escapism. This seems to indicate some ethnic differences in motivations for play— a topic that might warrant further study.

Help for Gaming Addiction or Overuse

Do you know someone who seems to be addicted to gaming? Do you find yourself thinking about your online games all day, longing to have a block of time when you can immerse yourself in the gaming world and escape reality? While games can be a great form of entertainment, they can also distract you from really enjoying your life in other ways.

To find out if your gaming habit may have become an addiction or could be a sign of other mental health issues, visit Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic and talk to a trained psychiatrist in Singapore. We’ll help you understand your motivations for gaming and lead you to discover some other ways that your psychosocial needs can be met. In time, you can discover a richer, fuller life beyond online gaming.

Article by Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic Blog Team

Source: The study can be downloaded here.