Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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With the emergence of competitive gaming and the introduction of global events providing millions of dollars in cash prizes, online gaming has evolved from a mere pastime into a legitimate industry in its own right. However, addiction is a big concern when it comes to gaming. Those who struggle with addiction often lack the self-control necessary to prioritise their own needs and duties, prioritising their games instead.

Playing online games for long periods of time has been linked to not getting enough sleep, social disconnection, insomnia, poor mental health, and other health issues. Consistently, experts and health practitioners have expressed their views on responsible gaming, which may have certain advantages.

The positives of online gaming
Many important social skills, such as cooperation and problem solving, can be greatly improved by online gaming. Studies show that memory, processing speed, and focus are all improved through playing certain strategic games. Gaming a great way for kids to learn to work together, as they not only foster problem-solving skills but also encourage cooperative play.

How responsible gaming can help
Gaming addiction has a severe impact on mental and physical health, and health professionals believe that gamers should pay closer attention to the amount of time they spend playing online games and be careful of the impact gaming has on their work, school, and personal lives. Experts also recommend that players who are experiencing emotional distress seek medical or mental health treatment.

Dr. Nimesh G. Desai, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist and former director of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), described a few health concerns related with online gaming addiction. However, he believes that if certain warning signs are recognised early, gaming addiction can be prevented.

Gaming may negatively impact a person’s work life. According to Dr. Desai, neglect, a limited social repertoire, and isolation can have negative effects on a person’s relationships and health, all of which can slow them down professionally.

“All of these symptoms are a result of the classic biological and psychological phenomena of addiction. Addiction is fuelled by a dopamine-mediated high that produces a sense of excitement and a “kick” that eventually becomes compulsive “adds Dr. Desai

The warning indicators
Dr. Desai also outlines the warning signs to watch out for in a person with an online gaming addiction. For example, he says to look out for “neglect of social and family commitments; extreme sleep deprivation; failure to consume basic nutrition; irritated and unreasonable behaviour when reminded, sometimes accompanied by aggressive and violent behaviour; and total exclusion of any other significant activity that was once a part of that person’s life.”

Potential solution
Dr. Desai offers tips on how to stop gaming addiction: “Here, prevention is better than cure.” Some preventative measures include limiting children’s and teenagers’ access to certain games, limiting their playing time, and keeping a close check on them. Medicine and behavioural therapy are both therapeutic choices in a mental health hospital.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members