xbox2There has been unprecedented excitement at the launch of the Xbox One,… but will it just lead to an increase in gaming addictionThe creative geniuses at Microsoft have endeavored to make this system the most versatile yet and have created the hardware and gaming software to appeal to just about everyone from action and adventure adrenaline junkies to more cerebral gamers who prefer logic puzzles and strategy. Jumping in before the release of the Playstation Four later this year, Microsoft have jumped in to get in there first. But will this just encourage gaming addiction? Should we expect an epidemic?

For something to be considered an addiction it must fulfill two basic criteria.

  1. The addict develops an increased need for the substance (drugs, games, alcohol, etc) in order to achieve the same level of contentment as before
  2. If the person does not receive the amount they need, they become agitated or they begin to lose control

Video Game addiction is considered to be an impulse control disorder, which makes it a psychological addiction as opposed to a physical addiction.  Nevertheless, psychological addictions can have an amazing amount of power over those dealing with the addiction.  For many addict, feelings of agitation and anger can develop if they are unable to play as long as they want or feel they need to.  Addicts also are known for playing games so long and for such extended periods of time that their own relationships and physical health can become compromised.

It’s possible for anyone to become a video game addict given the right circumstances.  Video games have become an incredibly popular way for people of all ages to relax after a long day or even just escape from their own problems for awhile.  And while a little escapism can be a good thing, relying on the world of video games to “take you away” for longer and longer stretches of time can be a big red flag.

So, while the makers of the new Xbox One may be ready to begin tempting gamers with the latest advancements in gaming technology, it’s important that all gamers ensure their favorite hobby isn’t becoming a problem.  Research suggests that impulse control addictions such as gaming is affected by the release of dopamine, one of the body’s natural feel-good chemicals.  Luckily this chemical cam be released by the body under a number of different circumstances – basically anything that feels good.  One great way to increase dopamine levels is with exercise or any activity which takes place outdoors.  Sunlight increases both dopamine and Vitamin K levels which are natural anti-depressants.  Making sure you get enough human interaction and physical activity will go a long way in ensuring video games remain a favorite hobby and not something that takes over your life.

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