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A study in 2019 published in the National Library of Medicine found that gaming addiction was positively correlated with depression, loneliness, and social anxiety, especially in young adult men. They also reported that young adult men who were addicted to video games showed increased depression and anxiety and felt more socially isolated. The study further revealed that males were shown to be more negatively affected than females and were also more prone to isolate and withdraw. [1]

Some say this is a bit of the “chicken and egg” situation. In other words, do depressed young adults gravitate to isolating behaviors like gaming, or do otherwise well-adjusted young adults get so immersed in the gaming culture that it eventually pulls them out of circulation with their friends and family? The answer is likely both.

While many of us seek out any number of addictive activities, be it drugs or sex for example, when feeling depressed in an attempt to get a dopamine hit for our thirsty minds that feel abandoned and isolated, a growing number of young adults are finding that the more screen time they engage in, the less likely they are to develop healthy relationships. In fact, all the virtual world has to offer is characters hiding behind screens and personalities without engagement from a real and actual social network. This can often generate detachment from reality and make such people vulnerable to being influenced by these virtual worlds as if they were their real social environment. [2]

College is an exciting time for many of us. We’re finally freed from the bonds of our parents and embarking upon a new and exciting journey - yet we may find it difficult to navigate those unfamiliar waters without help. Statistics show that we are in a time of unprecedented levels of depression and anxiety. While COVID-19 and the culture wars can take their share of the blame, often drivers behind these numbers are putting too much pressure on ourselves simply because we are trying to fill fundamental needs with things that just aren't designed to meet them long-term. This might be taking place in familiar places like college, but what about the less familiar areas of work or life?

We look to others for validation, to fill our lives with pleasant experiences, and avoid pain. However, when we find ourselves in uncharted territory what was once a pleasurable experience can become a vice, and instant gratification will produce anxiousness in the aftermath. We need to seek out an alternative source of fulfillment. Anything that keeps us captive, like gaming or social media is taking away from our ability to enjoy genuine relationships and life's rich tapestry more than it adds value.

Below is a synopsis of a general recovery care program at the top de-addiction centres in India, for video gaming addiction which includes abstaining from video games for 30 days. This program available at the top 10 rehabilitation centres in India, along with neurofeedback and therapy sessions has been very helpful in breaking the cycle of isolation that leads to addiction and diminishing depression. The idea behind this is not punitive, but merely to give undistracted opportunity to develop some “self” apart from gaming and shrink the obsessive gamer mindset. It's important in recovery to allow yourself the space and time necessary to find other things you can occupy your time with rather than isolating yourself just so you can game more.

Routine

It's important to stick to a daily routine that is generally initiated at the best de-addiction centres in India — this is something we all hear time and time again, but that doesn't make it any less relevant or valuable! One way to help achieve this is by establishing times that you set aside for activities that are considered key components of your day. These key components will include: eating healthy meals on a regular schedule (mealtimes should be at least four hours apart); getting 8 hours of sleep every night; and setting specific tasks for accomplishing regularly throughout the day. We, at the best rehab centres in India, suggest developing a schedule weekly, depending on how much planning you're looking to do upfront.

Certain Activities on a Daily Basis

To find mental peace, it is wise to keep your brain active. Pursue hobbies that are mentally stimulating like board games, or activities such as art in all forms or music. All of these will stimulate the parts of your brain known to de-stress and relax you. Integrating a daily exercise routine can also help counterbalance any stress you might be feeling from work; even if it’s simply a 20-minute walk for cardio and around 30 minutes for weight training at home on days when time permits. Meditation might take too long to practice daily - but breathing techniques can go a long way in preventing anxiety from building up inside us!

Socializing

This can begin with being more intentional, too. Show up each day and commit to doing something not related to your job or school - be it casually getting together with friends during the day for a bite, coffee, or lunch, meeting people for support meetings, or for an activity that doesn’t have anything to do directly with gaming characters. The goal here is to just be connected and show up as yourself naturally so you can become comfortable with this side of you when you are in social or relational situations.

At a scheduled time, each day, turn off your computer and unplug all of your other electrical devices: smartphones, tablets, televisions, stereos, and such. Leave them disconnected for anywhere from one to four hours depending on what works best for you. Most importantly, get rid of any handheld gaming devices (such as 3DSs or PlayStations) during this time; otherwise, you may lose track of real-life priorities.

Encouragement from loved ones and friends is critically important to be a part of the process as the addicted user attempts to break away from their problem. The support doesn't just have to come from a pillar of strength in someone such as a parent or spouse, but also from a friend who has been through something similar as well. Encourage them with these helpful reminders: We know this will be tough for you. The principles are simple, but breaking away from your relationship with technology can be extremely difficult. You may feel uneasy about how things may turn out in the long run, but don't worry about that right now when it comes to taking this bold initiative. Your family and friends care about you and want to show their love!

A study by Warin Rujataronjai and Parvathy Varma on 200 Thai adolescents showed that the respondents’ level of video game addiction directly influenced the levels of depression, anxiety, and stress such that the higher the level of video game addiction, the higher their level of depression, anxiety, and stress. Video game addiction has indirect influences on the levels of depression, anxiety, and stress when mediated by self-regulation. However, video game addiction has no indirect influence on anxiety and stress when mediated by social support. Nonetheless, video game addiction was found to have a positive influence on social support, such that the higher the level of addiction, the higher the level of social support. Among the three dependent variables of depression, anxiety, and stress, it was found that only depression decreases in level when the mediator social support is increased, even when the level of video game addiction is high. [3]

We must understand that the willingness to change is the first step but giving up an addiction or behavior in favor of finding one’s self again can be a trying time for anyone, especially so when suddenly pulling away from technology, which is why the top rehabilitation centres in India help overcome this addiction. The space being created by this absence of activity means there is now room in your life for you to explore without any obstacles getting in your way which allows you to notice what's truly lacking in your life and find ways of filling those gaps. Putting yourself first and coming back to your own needs are key characteristics that will help you move forward throughout this process as well as working out what 'self' you want to surround yourself with on a more permanent basis.

For those who need help, top rehabilitation centers in India provide treatment for both disorders or issues effectively, be it gaming disorder or depression. Approach the best rehab centers in India for the same, today!

REFERENCES-


AUTHOR- Dr. Niharika Singh (MBBS, MD Psychiatry, MIPS)

Dr. Niharika Singh received her MBBS degree from Kurukshetra University, following which she went on to complete MD Psychiatry from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Bangalore. During her residency program, she pursued her thesis on psychosocial factors and personality profiles of early and late-onset Alcohol dependence syndrome. With a view to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field of mental health, she then continued to train regularly with premier institutes such as Harvard Medical School - McLean Hospital (USA) in Mind-Body Medicine, Beck Institute (USA) in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, NIMHANS (Bangalore) in Addiction Psychiatry, Behaviour Medicine, Clinical Neurophysiology and Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and has completed Fellowship in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation from Duke University (USA). After post-graduation, her goal has been to inform the public about addiction issues. Her mission is to help those in need of treatment find the best option for them. And with this being her consistent vision, she believes in de-stigmatizing the field of addiction psychiatry and rehabilitation center treatment in India and has been working at a licensed dual-diagnosis facility in New Delhi. Through her contributions to rehabsindia.in she aims at providing licensed, professional rehabilitative care choices to patients and their families.

REVIEWED BY- Sudipta Rath (M. Phil in Clinical Psychology)

Sudipta Rath completed her MPhil in clinical psychology from Utkal University in Odisha (India) in 2020 and is currently practicing in New Delhi as a clinical psychologist at a dual diagnosis facility. She is a licensed RCI practitioner specializing in all forms of psychotherapy. Addiction and mental health are personal subjects for her, and her goal is that she can give a helping hand to those seeking healthy and lasting recovery.

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