CGA stands for Computer game addiction.
In the computer game addiction is a mental illness. It is based on a distorted perception of reality and expresses itself in an escape into the virtual dream world. Because only here can sufferers realize their dreams, are invulnerable and combine attributes that they do not have in normal life. Computer game addiction can be treated.
What is computer game addiction?
Computer game addiction is now recognized as a mental illness. With it, the person concerned feels driven to spend their time playing PC or console games. This may be a popular and legitimate pastime, but computer game addiction manifests itself in compulsive behavior.
In many cases, this is too time-consuming, so that those suffering from computer game addiction usually spend several hours or even days in the virtual world. Popular topics of computer game addiction in the media are the so-called first-person shooters, which are also intended to act on those affected in such a way that they dull them and make them more aggressive. However, this thesis has not been proven. On the other hand, it is clear that computer game addiction must be placed in therapeutic hands.
Computer game addiction must be differentiated from internet addiction and gaming addiction.
In most cases, addiction to computer games arises from simply playing on the computer and subsequently increases to a strong desire. Those affected by computer game addiction are usually psychologically unstable and susceptible to disturbing influences.
Often he is accompanied by a latent denial of reality. Both conditions favor computer game addiction. In addition to these character basics, certain key situations often arise: The person affected by computer game addiction isolates himself from his circle of friends, experiences rejection from a loved one or withdraws in some other way and seeks the ideal world. Loneliness, the feeling of incomprehension as well as private and professional stress are therefore frequent triggers of computer game addiction.
Furthermore, online role-playing games, so-called MMORPG – massively multiplayer online role-playing game, such as Guildwars or World of Warcraft, pose an enormous risk of addiction to their players. In these games, the player always has the addiction to have to rise further in order to be better than the other players. Most of these MMORPGs do not have a typical end of the game, but offer an almost infinite number of adventures and courses of action to further improve the character of the game. In addition, a dependency can arise because friends of those affected often play along and they do not want to break a certain social bond.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
In the absence of a defined clinical picture, computer game addiction has no symptoms that are typical or mandatory for the presence of this condition. However, there are several signs and symptoms that are based on observation of existing and treated cases of computer game addiction that can be used to distinguish them from normal user behavior.
Computer game addicts are characterized by the fact that they invest most of their time in gaming. Everything else is put aside in favor of gaming, so that those affected eat badly or no longer meet their obligations, for example.
If those affected are prevented from playing, they will react emotionally and show withdrawal symptoms. Not being able to play seems unbearable to them. In situations in which the affected person cannot play, his thoughts are still circling around his game. Gambling behavior can only be controlled with difficulty and, as with almost all addictions, the problem is ignored and the problem is covered up.
Later on, other areas of life are (almost) completely abandoned. Social contacts, professional obligations and the like are no longer noticed and the person concerned isolates himself with his computer. Physical consequences can occur due to forgetting to eat. Dying of thirst or starvation occur occasionally.
Signs of addiction to computer games are gradually increasing the amount of time you play each day and starting to neglect other things in favor of the game.
Diagnosis & course
Computer game addiction often shows a creeping progression: From an initial pastime, the compulsion to indulge in the gaming world grows. Those suffering from computer game addiction literally take refuge in their desired environment, where they can do whatever they want.
This denial of real circumstances and the creation of your own dream worlds is a key point of computer game addiction. In many cases, it is then no longer possible for the person affected to recognize the boundaries between the real and the imagined situation:
He acts again as he sees fit. It is controversial whether computer game addiction can actually lead to homicidal crimes or violent crimes. What is decisive, however, is that addiction to computer games has inestimable consequences that can be dangerous for those affected and those around them.
Computer game addiction is a behavioral addiction and therefore often leads to social isolation: addicted gamers increasingly withdraw in order to spend more time playing. In addition, other interests and hobbies can take a back seat, which also makes contact with other people more difficult.
Debt is another potential complication of computer game addiction. On the one hand, addicted gamers can lose control of their spending: computers, games, accessories, and in-game purchases all add to the mountain of debt. On the other hand, computer game addicts may neglect their jobs and financial obligations if they get lost in the game.
Many addicts also neglect other tasks – for example their own family, children or themselves. As part of this complication, personal hygiene, nutrition and cleanliness in their own home are sometimes postponed or appear overly complicated to the computer game addict. The effort for everyday things seems to be too high for those affected.
In addition, computer game addiction can be associated with other psychological problems, for example depression or other addictions. Some addicted gamers increasingly lose touch with reality through excessive gaming. This condition can favor psychotic symptoms and dissociation. In some cases, alienation also makes computer game addicts feel like strangers in reality – reality seems unreal to them.
When should you go to the doctor?
The boundaries between passionate computer games as a pastime and computer game addiction are fluid and are not always easy to recognize. A doctor should be consulted if computer games are of paramount importance in the life of the person concerned and all other areas are neglected. The compulsive urge to gamble, the onset of loss of control at the start of the game, and the inability to take longer breaks are warning signs that strongly suggest a computer game addiction that needs treatment.
If the person concerned withdraws further and further from his social environment and also accepts that his behavior will cause problems at school or at work, a visit to the doctor is urgently recommended. The neglect of personal hygiene and inadequate food intake already indicate a pronounced gambling addiction. Health is at risk if people also forget to drink: In connection with exhaustion from lack of sleep, the body can become life-threatening. Medical advice should be sought immediately if these signs are at the latest.
The first point of contact can be your family doctor, with whom you have a trusting relationship: However, psychological or psychotherapeutic treatment is usually necessary as a result. In severe cases, inpatient therapy may also be indicated.
Treatment & Therapy
Computer game addiction is treated by a psychological therapist. It is important to recognize the disease as such and to be able to differentiate between normal pastime and addiction.
This task is usually the responsibility of the family or friends. Once the first step towards this realization has been mastered, those suffering from computer game addiction should find a competent partner with whom they can talk about their compulsions. As a rule, this talk therapy also expresses hidden fears or desires that the patient has unconsciously carried within himself for many years or decades.
In rare cases, computer game addiction is treated with medication. However, the use of pharmaceuticals is particularly helpful wherever reality is denied with all its might. At the request of those suffering from computer game addiction, an inpatient measure is also possible. Here he is shown a way to relax.
He also has the opportunity to realize his own self instead of taking refuge in the virtual world. The computer game addiction is thus curable.
Outlook & forecast
Computer game addiction is just as serious a disease as any other addiction. The outlook and prognosis are similar – if computer game addiction is not treated or ignored for too long, it can have consequences.
Since this specific addiction manifests itself in the fact that the person concerned only spends his free time in front of the computer or, in the worst case, no longer pursues his job and other obligations, the first negative effects are social and psychological in nature. Furthermore, diet and exercise can suffer from addiction to computer games and lead to physical problems. A deterioration in the complexion of the skin is conceivable if there is no more time for a healthy diet, or obesity if the leisure time remains without exercise.
The consequences of computer game addiction can vary in severity. Slight forms of expression are mostly noticed by relatives. With computer game addiction, the sufferer often does not suffer for a long time, so that many addicts get help very late or not at all.
In principle, computer game addiction can only be prevented through increased control: either through other people or through your own discipline. You should also try to fill the time with culture, sport, education or similar programs instead of wasting it with mostly dull and exhausting games. In all of this, however, it is crucial to recognize the extent of the computer game addiction and to act accordingly.
After successfully treating computer game addiction, it is important to avoid relapse. Many former addicts have to set clear boundaries that cannot be stretched in everyday life. Such exceptions are easy to break in and become a habit that re-opens the door to addiction.
A central part of aftercare is to continue working on the causes of computer game addiction. Many computer game addicts first have to build up a social environment again. It is often advisable to re-establish contact with old friends and acquaintances from whom the person concerned withdrew during the addiction.
However, sometimes the previous environment is largely made up of other computer addicts who may not be ready to combat their addiction. In this case, it makes sense to make new friends and to limit contact with old friends at least to the extent that there is no risk of relapsing yourself.
How common relapses to computer game addiction are has not been adequately researched – however, they are very common with other addictions. As soon as a relapse is detected, the former therapist should be contacted to resume therapy if necessary or to have some stabilizing discussions. Other resources such as reliable friends, family or telephone counseling can also support those affected.
You can do that yourself
In order to be able to cope with everyday life without computer game addiction, it is important for those affected to learn strategies for self-control so that situations in which they attempt to play can be avoided. The self-help of computer addicts results from the behavior analysis and the identification of the background problems which led to an abnormal gaming behavior.
From this therapeutic approach, the person concerned learns coping strategies, whereby the subject of personal responsibility always has a very high and central priority. If there is an unintentional relapse into PC gaming addiction, the person affected should know where to find professional help directly. Because even the personal admission of the need for help is an important psychological moment in order to regain self-control as quickly as possible even in the event of a relapse.
The self-knowledge of one’s own pathological behavior is very helpful in everyday life in order to understand the psychological mechanisms of computer game addiction. This self-analysis can therefore help to critically question and correct one’s own behavior. If flight from responsibility, overconfidence or dishonesty towards oneself and others determine the world of thought, the road to a relapse into computer game addiction is not far.
But this can be changed in a targeted manner. Those affected should not go this path alone in everyday life, but through support with the help of self-help groups for depression, support for self-confidence and self-confidence or to learn relaxation techniques.