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Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Top Replacement Activity List Developed by Mental Health Providers and Former Gamers

 

When choosing an activity, it’s all about intent

Time. It’s a commodity we all have at our disposal. For chronic online video gamers, streamers, tech users, or social media influencers, time offline feels empty and boring. This is one of the reasons why trying to replace acitivites like video gaming, Internet surfing, snap chatting, or streaming with offline activities often fails. For a heavy user, the brain rewards received by your online activity of choice far outweighs the rewards received by engaging in offline activities, even ones that should be rewarding.

Our recommendation is to plan offline activties with an intent in mind. For example, a parent might say, “go outside and play.” Sure, this is an excellent actvity for many reasons. That said, a person whose brain is highly rewarded for online video gaming may feel depressed when offline, and going outside just doesn’t seem to help them feel any better.

Having an intent behind “why” you’re doing a particular activity might make all the difference when participating in even simple activities feels challenging. Each of the activites listed in this guide have an intent behind them. Eating healthier has been shown to lead to less depression. Thus the intent behind the actvity is not only to lesson the amount of time spent online, it’s to reduce your symptoms of depression. When you feel like giving up because it feels boring, you can rise to the challenge when you understand that engaging in the activity over time will improve your mood, and help you feel better.

The following activity list is designed with the mutual intent of reducing time spent online while improving your overall well-being.

First, drop the fantasy reading

In 10 years of working with people in treatment for video game addiction, we have found that one of the first replacement activities they turn to is fantasy reading, fantasy drawing or other related activity. While we pass no moral judgement on fantasy books, or these type of activities, we do suggest for your consideration that these replacement activities are a way for the brain to continue providing the neural stimulation and rewards which was occurring while video gaming. Thus, if you really want to change your online use habits, pick up a self-help book, or engage in non-fantasy related activities.

Suggested replacement reading activities:

  • Self-help books related to ending a tech obsession
  • Read a book in a genre unfamiliar to you to build new neural pathways

 

Second, get moving

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which promote movement:

  • Start by getting outside more
  • Go for a walk
  • Eventually go for a run
  • Join a gym
  • Visit a climbing gym. Ask for a trial lesson.
  • Hit the swimming pool.

Third, start to eat healthier

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which improve healthier eating:

  • Go through your fridge and throw out all the junk
  • De-sugar your environment. 
  • Spend time reading the ingredients on your food labels. 
  • Find a recipe book with food you’ll actually cook
  • Throw out the pop, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Sign up to take a cooking class
  • Invite someone over to cook with you. Making pizza’s together is a good place to start.

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Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

The unknown gamerverse

While it’s relatively easy to recognize the signs of problematic video game use, identifying the games being played is proving to be much more difficult. When parents of troubled teens are asked what games their children play, they often respond with “some shooter game,” or “I’m really not sure.” That said, parents are keen at noticing the ways in which games interfere with academics and daily life. 

What video games are most addictive?

Game developers often pride themselves in producing addictive video games. And players are quick to create lists of addictive games. To this point, a quick Internet search on addictive video games will show countless sites highlighting the top addictive video games of 2019, followed by the most addictive video games of all time.

Briefly, let’s highlight a few MMO, MMORPG, and RPG games which frequently show up on  assessments for those seeking treament.

The following video games made our list:

  • Fortnite
  • Minecraft
  • Hearthstone
  • Overwatch
  • Guildwars2
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty
  • World of Warcraft
  • Counter Strike
  • Dota 2
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Elder Scrolls

This list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are thousands of addictive video games on the market.

Rise in Gaming?

More video games are played today than ever before. This rise in gaming worldwide poses difficulties for parents and healthcare professionals alike who are not familiar with the complex nature of video games.

When seeking treatment or help with an addiction, especially one involving digital media, it’s always best to work with a team of specialists rather than a generalist who may have little understanding of industry trends.

Video Game Addiction and Depression

Video Game Addiction and Depression

Technology is one of the main developments of this century, it is common and accessible, to the point where the average person has at least one gadget. Electronic devices have spread exponentially, and with them video games. People can play anywhere and for long periods of time. This may seem appealing at first sight, nonetheless, excessive game consumption carries negative consequences for people’s wellbeing, video game addiction being one of them.

Addictive behavior

In the past, addiction was thought to be a mental disorder where the addict’s brain changes were the result of a psychoactive substance or chemical. Nowadays we know better, the structure/chemistry of the brain also changes following the repetition of a rewarding activity, giving place to behavioral addictions such as gambling, or the topic that concerns us: video game addiction.

Video Game Addiction

Like many mental disorders, behavioral addictions manifest in a variety of ways, and while the focus of the fixation may vary, the main symptom remains unchanged, which it is an overwhelming need
to consume the addictive substance or activity.

Those under the grip of video game addiction, invest a considerable large part of their time playing video games, and like any other addicts they wrongly believe that they are in control of their actions. Nevertheless, they struggle to stop their gaming sessions to engage in other activities such as working, studying or to exercise, eat and spend time away from their device. Moreover, they may feel extremely anxious and irritated when their gaming sessions are interrupted or suspended

Video Game Addiction and Depression

When it comes to mental health, a mental health disorder may co-occur in tandem with another disorder, this is known as comorbidity. When it comes to video game addiction, there is a strong correlation with depression and anxiety, meaning that those facing video game addiction might be facing a much more complicated threat.

How to Spot Depression

Since video games abusers are prone to depression, it is important to look for any possible warning signs. Overall, depression is a mood disorder characterized by a consistent and overwhelming feeling of sadness, it persists for long periods of time, and it can be accompanied by apathy,
hopelessness, and irritability; as well as changes in appetite and sleep patterns.

What to Do in Case of Depression and Video Game Addiction

Video games are enticing, they allow us to have fun, and share some laughs with our friends, but they were not meant to be the sole focus of our lives. Thus, it is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is facing video game addiction, especially if it is accompanied by depression.

Mental disorders can progress and intensify if untreated, and what at first is a light rain, can easily transform itself into a hurricane that takes with it everything we care about. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help, you are important, and there are mental health professionals willing to help you to overcome your addiction. Just reach out for help if you need it.