The Effects of Computer Games Addiction

By John Hewitt

Computer games addiction is not a physical disease or mental illness. It does not have an entry of its own in the DSM-IV. It describes a behavior that has become increasingly familiar with the rise of computer game popularity. A person with this type of addiction sets aside practically all other activities in favor of playing computer games almost endlessly.

Putting the Real World Aside

Computer games addiction has no physical component or objective diagnosis, but many of the consequences are similar to alcoholism or drug addiction. Some addicts allow jobs, relationships and academic careers to languish or collapse in order to spend more time playing their favorite games. Gamers who become entrenched in excessive daily gaming routines can find it difficult to make room for much else in life.

Social Isolation

Computer games addicts tend to isolate themselves from normal, face-to-face human contact. Some of the most addictive games are found online, where the player competes and cooperates with others around the world. These online relationships online can eventually crowd out more intimate, real-life ones.

The Financial Drain

The sheer amount of time many addicts spend playing---100 hours a week or more, in some cases---inevitably leads to decreased job or academic performance. Late nights and days spent obsessing over the game make the addict unable to perform as well as he would be able to otherwise. Some gamers spend real money on virtual products to make their characters more powerful or distinctive, reducing the money available for necessities.

Impact on Family

Aside from academic obligations, children and young people have relatively few responsibilities to shirk by playing games. When an adult with dependents becomes addicted to computer games, however, the addiction can shatter a family. Game obsession takes away from time spent with family, which can lead to neglect of children and weakening of marriage bonds.


Computer games addiction describes an ingrained set of habits rather than a true addiction. It can be concomitant with depression or mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder. Therapy, treatment programs and/or medication for the underlying disorder can be helpful. The earlier treatment is sought, the greater the chance it will be successful.