About James Good

I grew up as an average kid riding bikes and playing soccer. I got good grades in school, and never had a gaming console growing up. Sure, I played video games with the family PC but my gaming was kept in check by my strict parents. I never thought I had a gaming addiction.

Then university came along.

I purposefully chose a school far away from home to experience independence. While I did grow tremendously living far from home, there were no parents to tell me to stop when my gaming got out of hand.

I played all sorts of games (mostly MMO RPG’s, and League of Legends) and would often skip lectures to play. The only thing that kept my gaming in check was the very real fear of dropping out of school, and I would somehow not game during key points of the year such as midterms week, finals week, and the few days before a big project due date.

I had bad grades, but somehow, I didn’t fail any courses. I consider myself VERY lucky that it wasn’t much worse.

I Was Given a Second Chance and I Almost Blew It

Despite my bad grades, I managed to land a summer internship. Even to this day, I have no idea how I landed that job, and I honestly think all the other candidates chose another job, so the company had the choice of having no intern or hiring me. Lucky for me that they did, as my bad grades were preventing me from finding anything, and I was heavily regretting my gaming habits through university.

The internship felt like a 2nd chance. I worked hard. Sometimes, crazy hard. I would average 60-80hrs of work a week. While the other interns were out enjoying parties or travelling, I was working hard, determined to not let my 2nd chance escape. My efforts paid off, and I got a full-time offer. I was due to start after my graduation.

Fast forward a few years. I was working full time, and was ‘gaming in moderation‘. There were a couple of sleepless nights of gaming here and there, and the job kept my gaming in check, but that was about it.

My schedule was work, sleep, game. I would attempt to get out and socialize but would soon give up and go back to gaming. And, now that I was getting comfortable with this new life, I felt my gaming time was slowly increasing.

I just got accepted into Grad School, which I had planned to attend part-time after work. However, seeing how my university years have gone, I knew that if I continued to game, I would get horrible grades again, and would be wasting a lot of money to not really learn anything.

Now, let’s take a breather from the story for a moment. Seeing how gaming was wrecking my grades, and I was stuck in this boring routine, I attempted many, many times to try and quit gaming in college.

Here are the methods I’ve tried:

  • Gaming “in moderation” by sticking to a schedule – didn’t work. I would always say “1 more game”.
  • Deleting games – With modern internet, it is so easy to reinstall games. With a fresh PC, I can get a solid high-quality game up and running in less than 30min.
  • Try other things like exercising and studying – gaming is more fun and rewarding
  • Switch my PC operating system to Linux – This actually worked for a few weeks. The problem is, if your machine is powerful enough, there are plenty of Linux games available, and with the right set of knowledge, you can get most Windows games to work on Linux no problem…

gaming and college

It Was Time to Turn My Life Around

Back to the story. With Grad School just around the corner, I knew I couldn’t stick to the methods that have failed for me in the past. I needed to quit COLD TURKEY.

To me, this is what it meant:

  • Ask Riot Games to delete my League of Legends account. They will do this for you, after warning you that there is no going back.
  • I had NDS and 3DS console and games at the time. I gave them all to friends that wanted them.
  • I reinstalled Windows on my laptop and gave it to my parents who live a couple of thousand miles away.

Also, since I can’t not have a laptop, I got a crappy $250 Linux laptop that can watch videos and do office work. Most 3D games will probably not run on this system.

I found this step to be the most crucial. It’s very hard to stay connected with family and friends and do basic photo/file management without a computer, but not have the temptation to game. So I found this to be a good middle ground. Also, once you get used to a Linux system, it’s no different than using Windows.

The first couple of months were the toughest. I craved gaming so much and was depressed for long hours, but I had gotten rid of all temptations to get through it. After doing this, I successfully quit gaming for a whole year!

And this is what I accomplished in that year:

  • 4 quarters of grad studies with A’s in most of the courses
  • Went on 5 separate camping trips
  • Learned rock climbing. The highest level I succeeded was a V4 in bouldering (climbing without a rope)
  • Went back-packing to the lovely Havasupai Falls
  • Watched the first 6 seasons of Game of Thrones (ok, this has nothing to do with quitting gaming).
  • Tried Surfing. I managed to stand up twice!
  • Visited Sedona in Arizona.
  • Paddled in a Whitewater Rafting trip, twice.
  • Ran 2 Half-Marathons (a full marathon is still too much for me…)
  • Went Skydiving from 13000ft
  • Logged an average of 1.5hrs of biking EVERY DAY (totalling your car helps, though I don’t blame that on gaming)

Amazing right?! And I was just an average single guy working a 9-5 job and gaming for the remainder of the day. I was literally at the height of my physical performance, at the ripe old age of 28.

I am so glad that I quit gaming.

Then I Met My Girlfriend…

I wish that the story ends there, but it does not. After 1 year of no gaming, I met the girl of my dreams. She is funny, smart, cute, shares a lot of my hobbies, and is overall, an amazing person to be around. I also found that she is a gamer that plays League of Legends. The game whose account I deleted a year ago!

I wanted to share as many hobbies with her as much possible, so I got another laptop and installed League back on it. I argued that this was to get closer with the girl I liked and that I would only play with her, and never alone or with others.

It worked for the first few months. Sharing a hobby with someone you like is an amazing feeling. Eventually, I asked her out, and we became a couple. Naturally, our game time together increased.

However, as we played, I noticed a lot of toxic players which brought my mood down.

I especially hated when a mistake I made led to her death (in the game of course). In an attempt to compensate for this, I wanted to play more, to get better.

However, unlike me, my girlfriend is someone that can actually game in moderation. She would only play a few hours a week, and there would be days when she simply does not feel like playing, so I started to also have times when I played alone. This time gradually increased, and when I met especially toxic players, I switched to other games. This went on for about a year.

After a year of gaming again, I noticed a change in my behaviour. I noticed that I was less and less patient with people around me, including my girlfriend. When I was at work, I was secretly searching for gaming strategies. When I was not gaming, I was thinking about gaming, and when my girlfriend was talking to me, it was getting harder and harder to focus. After 20 hours of gaming in a weekend, I knew that I had become addicted again.

I told my girlfriend that I was going on a video game detox.

It is a shame that we can’t enjoy video games together anymore, but I got some key takeaways from this experience:

  • For some people, gaming relapses can come in huge waves. For me, it was subtle. So subtle, in fact, that I didn’t even realize it until I was addicted again.
  • Some people are more prone to gaming addiction. My girlfriend has been gaming since she was a kid, and even now, she can game in moderation and has a healthy relationship with this activity.
  • I was much more willing to do chores and be helpful to others since I have a lot more time.
  • I did my homework early! I can’t remember the last time I’ve ever done that in my life.
  • I was more attentive and focused on the present. Daydreaming about gaming was also an addiction. But without gaming, the endless daydreaming had also gone away.

I plan to continue with this detox, and the eventual goal is to never play video games again. I know I will get urges, and I may reason myself back to gaming again, but this 2nd time is much easier than the first, and I know if there ever is a 3rd time, it will be even easier.

Story submitted by Jason.

It was Christmas 2001, 4 days after I turned 6 years old, when my family – at the request of my older brother – got an Xbox.

From then on, up until I was 22, gaming was my main source of entertainment. It was how I de-stressed; it was how I passed time; it was how I interacted with my two brothers and the few friends I made. I didn’t play outside much. I never learned how to ride a bike or swim. And my visits to the beach decreased significantly.

Back then, gaming was still pretty outside of the mainstream, and massively multiplayer was only just beginning. I grew up with the mindset of an outcast. I wasn’t good at the things everyone else was – sports, making friends, etc. In fact, I have a very distinct memory of some time in elementary school when two girls in the neighbourhood came to my house to invite me out to play, and I pretended to be sick so I could avoid interacting.

Instead, I played video games.

I Hid Who I Was to Make Friends

I think the beginning of my change towards gaming began when I made a class presentation in 8th grade and suddenly realized I was pretty good at public speaking. This led me to have the confidence to speak more, but I was still incredibly insecure about having such a gaming-oriented childhood.

I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it

So, to impress people and relate to them, I ended up developing a lying problem. I would tell people grand stories of what I did in my free time and how active a person I was, when in reality, when I got off the bus from school, I went to my room and played Halo, Runescape, Mass Effect, Command and Conquer, etc. I told people I hunted (I’d never held a gun in my life). I told people I played lacrosse (never held a lacrosse stick in my life).

You get the picture.

Eventually, I ended up getting caught in some lies (I think it was about the hunting), and a group of kids bullied me for this, which rocked my confidence for a while. But in high school, still feeling the urge to socialize but now knowing not to do it through lies, I ended up making friends with a lot of gamers. Desperate to fit in and finally have a social circle, I adopted their habits. I played even more games in different genres on different platforms. I watched the same Let’s Plays they did. I even decided to take STEM classes in high school just so I could be around these people who accepted me.

This ended up having a very strange negative consequence: I went to university for electrical engineering, because that was my background in high school and what all my friends were doing, but I’m not an engineer. Needless to say, all the math courses and engineering courses were really difficult for me, and I struggled through my freshman year. All the way, I de-stressed with video games. My sophomore year, I ended up leaving school to try to explore new things, but I mostly spent my time at home playing video games, and when it came time to decide what to do with my life, I reluctantly returned to engineering school.

It Was Time to Make a Change

This was when I decided to experiment with quitting video games, having identified them as a key point of failure in my freshman year. So, upon my return, I cut myself off from games, and it worked well for a while. Periodically, at stressful times, I would play, but once a test or big homework assignment was out of the way, I successfully returned to my gaming embargo.

I flourished during these times of cutting out gaming. Even though I don’t like engineering, I did pretty well in the courses. I formed a huge friend group out of studying for, and persevering through, difficult classes together. While it still wasn’t perfect (because I didn’t care for STEM), it was much better than having a friendship group based around my addiction.

I’ve had a number of relapses since quitting gaming that first time, but I’ve always gone back to trying to get away from them. Unfortunately, my relationship with my brother Ryan being largely based around video games doesn’t help.

Things were at their worst when I moved in with him to save money while starting my first engineering job out of college. His entire life is gaming, and suddenly mine was as well.

One night, I realized how far I’d fallen back into my addiction, and I had what I can only describe as a panic attack. I was so afraid that video games would be all I ever did with my life that I intentionally water damaged our Xbox 360 to stop myself from playing it. It’s not something I’m proud of, because it was shared property (if not more so his), but I believe it was something I needed to do to help myself at that moment.

I deleted my Steam account, but unfortunately, living with him pressured me into recreating one, because it’s the main way I relate to him and I want to be a good brother.

I also sold my gaming computer and bought a laptop that can’t run anything but games from several years ago, so no new releases for me.

I started seeing a therapist for the depression and anxiety that I believe are heavily rooted in my background in gaming.

Just in the past two months, I’ve had a terrible relapse, where I ended up installing a bunch of games from this new Steam account on that laptop.

But I’m quitting again. Just now, I changed my Steam account password to one of those randomly generated Google ones and didn’t save it, so I’m locked out of my account. The thing for me is: if I don’t have easy access, I won’t go out of my way to game. I see it for what it is in my life now, so as long as it’s out of harms reach then I’m safe.

I didn’t delete my Steam account again, because I knew how much it hurt my brother when he learned I deleted my old one, and he gets very defensive when I try to discuss my gaming addiction with him. I think this pathway will hopefully let me slowly grow into new pursuits and maybe reforge our relationship in different areas.

Gaming Stopped Me from Pursuing My Dreams

I want to change careers out of the software engineering job I don’t like that I have now. I want to get into writing and acting because those have always been things I’ve felt compelled to do. I’m working towards those goals now, taking some classes on the side.

I’ve been writing my short stories and beginning some novels. I’m going to start posting on Medium, covering the subjects of video game addiction, Internet addiction, and switching career paths after college (a few things I feel competent in discussing). I’m picking up drums, too, which I always wanted to learn to play.

I feel like a creative person with a lot of drive and motivation and energy who has just been held hostage by video games all their life. I have a lot of regret for wasting my entire childhood, but I’m glad that, at 23, I’m able to move on in a healthier direction.

I have a lot of animosity towards gaming and, in some way, myself. When I saw the recent video: “Is gaming a waste of time?” I immediately answered “yes,” and there’s a part of me, I must admit, who dislikes people who argue that they’re wonderful and amazing and the best thing that ever happened to entertainment. In reality, the better part of me knows that they are simply able to have a different relationship with games than I am.

Anyway, I guess the message of my story thus far is that I may stumble and fall, but at least I’m getting up each time and moving in the right direction.

I just wanted to thank you (Cam) again for being one of the few people I know talking about this serious issue. I think more and more people are discussing the impacts of social media and the internet and hikikomori (I think that’s the shut-in culture in Japan), but very little of the conversation has extended to video games, which I believe is a huge part of it all.

It’s really heartwarming that, even when my mom and brother express doubts about how video games have negatively influenced my life, there is someone out there who has a similar relationship with them and knows the dangers they hold for some of us.

Thank you and Game Quitters so much!

Sincerely,
Tom.

Hello. My name’s Vadim and I’m from Russia.

I’m 27 and I’ve been playing video games for more than 22 years – since I was 4. I had an NES at first, but very soon I got a computer that had DOS OS and had a few basic games on it. But then I upgraded in 1999, letting me play games like Starcraft, Unreal Tournament, Half-Life, Quake and more.

I would play for hours until I needed to stop because my parents told me to. But when my parents were away I’d try to play as much as I possibly could.

My Gaming Problem Became a Health Problem

I loved playing video games so much, and I was genuinely passionate about them. I excelled in school, so my parents didn’t see any problems with my gaming. But soon I got a better computer, PSP, laptop, and so I could play more whenever I wanted. I would play at nights and then sleep for 4 hours before school.

Gaming was so enjoyable that I didn’t think there was a problem. I was a smart child, and had some good friends, but I was shy and unconfident. At one point I accidentally found that if I didn’t play for more than 2 days, I became much more confident and had better self-esteem. However, that went away when I started to play games again. I remembered it very well at the time, and it helped me to quit gaming in the future.

At this point in my life, my health started to decline very rapidly. Anxiety and exhaustion started to creep in. I ended up going to university, where I needed to study even more. But I preferred to play video games and as a result, didn’t sleep enough. This caused my health to decline even more.

At some point, it got so bad I needed to quit university so that I could recover. But I couldn’t do it for very long. I wasn’t healthy, I had almost no friends, and gaming became my coping mechanism. I was very depressed and lonely.

Video games were the only thing I loved.

Did I Really Enjoy Gaming?

After some time, I started to read about healthy diets, lifestyle, stress, meditation and so on. I started to implement it in my life and my health began to improve. This allowed me to finish university and ended up getting a job. This was the first time I started to think about how video games influenced my life and my body. For example, I’ve found that if I play video games I lose the motivation to go to work for days, I get low self-esteem, become anxious, and fall into depression.

I started to ask myself “Why do I love gaming? Why do I love walking and speaking with people in a game and why do I love working in a game but not in real life?”

So I started to read information about how video games affect the human body, the brain and the nervous system and found out about dopamine. Then I started to read about other addictions that were actually very similar to my love of gaming. This is when I started to experiment with quitting gaming. But I didn’t know how to stop playing.

I stopped for a month as an experiment, and it was very difficult and unpleasant, and then I started gaming again. But after several months I found the Game Quitters channel. I learnt about the 90 days detox and promised to try it.

meditating and reading

Quitting Gaming Was Harder than I Expected

It was incredibly difficult. I felt very severe and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. When you play games for 22 years and then stop, you find that you do not have anything else in your life. You do not have friends, you do not have any social skills to find them, all you know is gaming.

I made the decision to finish the 90-day detox. My life was a complete mess and I needed to stop playing games. The videos on Game Quitters helped me A LOT, as well as their podcast about video game addiction. The first 40 days were the most difficult, but then to my surprise I started reading books with PLEASURE, like if I would play games. It was very unusual.

Once a week or two I had severe urges to play, and the last big was on about day 84. I think it was the last resort for my brain to return to play video games and it was almost successful. But, after 2 hours, it subsided and I never had a big urge to play games again.

So I completed a 90-day detox and decided that I’m never going back to video games again.

Gaming was my life and my identity. It was me. I loved them with all my heart. After the 90 day detox, which is nothing compared to 22 years, gaming was no longer my identity. I have found the real me – the man who wants to live in the real world, who wants to read many books, speak with many people, and have good friends.

One thing that helped a lot was realising I had an addiction, not a love of gaming. I would say that I even have some antipathy to games now, that never give you real happiness.

It was difficult during the first few months, but my skills grew incredibly. I think for the first time in 9 years I’ve found new friends. My life has improved so much. I don’t think about video games every minute anymore, I feel free from them.

I do not need this overstimulation to function anymore and I don’t feel the desire to play games at all. I’m never going to play them again.

My Advice on How to Quit Gaming

  • Study addictions and learn how they work. Underneath the surface, they’re all very similar. If you understand how they work, you will understand what you feel and why.
  • Watch Game Quitters. Without it, I would never stop playing video games (thanks Cam :D)
  • Read testimonials. Game Quitters has loads of case studies from ex-gamers
  • Do meditation every day. You will find why you play and why you need to stop.
  • If you have an urge, call or text someone. I don’t know why, but it helped a lot.
  • Go for a walk if you have an urge for an hour or two
  • Cry if you want to
  • Be positive. If you struggle, just know that it will go away eventually
  • Read books about the problems you have. For example, if you have problems with socialisation, read books about it. If you have health problems then read about them. It definitely helps.

So good luck you guys. There is a much better, happy and fulfilling life outside gaming.

My name is Austin Tuwiner and I’m a 21-year-old digital nomad. I’ve been travelling the world for over 9 months now. Video games have had an enormous impact on my life, so I’d like to share my experiences with them, hopefully resulting in helping someone’s life for the better.

I’m writing this post from a coffee shop in Buenos Aires, Argentina; reflecting on just how far I’ve come. A place I never imagined myself going to (or even knowing it existed) during the period of my life that I was consumed by the video game world.

Before we go any further, I’d like to clarify that I do still enjoy playing the occasional video game. After discussing my story and how gaming addiction has affected my life, I’ll share some tips on how I’ve been able to find balance and reintroduce them to my life.

My First Video Games

I don’t remember what video game was my first love. If I had to guess, it would be Pokemon Crystal or one of the Mario games. To this day I have amazing memories playing on my GameBoy and Nintendo with my siblings and friends. On a snow day (no school due to snow), my brother, sister, and I would sleep in and play games like Super Smash Bros and Mario together.

As time went on, I upgraded consoles to an Xbox 360 and played more and more mature-rated games. I think this is truly where the first issues started to appear. I began playing games like Halo 3 and Call of Duty at 15 years old. Immediately after coming home from middle school, my friends and I would boot up our Xbox’s and spend the entire day online chatting and gaming with each other.

We’d only surface for food. Oh, and homework.

Due tomorrow meant do tomorrow. Without a doubt, video games had an impact on my grades.

After playing Xbox for many years, I upgraded to PC gaming. If I had to pick a video game I spent the most time and money on there would be no comparison. It’s League of Legends by far.

Read: How to Quit Playing League of Legends

I’m a pretty competitive person which is an extremely dangerous combination when paired with player vs player video games. I was addicted to improving my craft and reaching the highest rank possible.

When I wasn’t able to play video games, I’d be watching Youtube and Twitch gameplay of professionals in order to get better.

My mind was ALWAYS on video games. What builds to try, what the coolest new strategy was, or the next game I was going to play. All of this took me out of the present moment. In school, on the bus, or mid-conversation I’d be thinking about video games.

The highest rank I ever achieved in League of Legends was Diamond 3, around the top .3% of all players.

At the time, this was a massive accomplishment.

Looking back?

It’s a trophy showing how much of my life I wasted for a game I’ll never play again. A few years from now, you won’t care about your rank, your special skin collection, or any other virtual accolade. You only have one life, why waste time playing and earning virtual awards?

I couldn’t even tell you how many aspects of my life were neglected due to my PC gaming addiction. I played PC games all throughout high school until I finally quit towards the end of senior year.

Let me tell you how I did it.

xbox 360 addiction

How To Quit Playing Video Games

Whenever I’m trying to quit a habit, I found that nuclear options are the best and maybe the only way. I specifically remember this video that convinced me I had to commit to quitting gaming.

I deleted all my accounts and listed my $1000+ custom built gaming computer on eBay.

What did I do when my computer was sold?

Began playing Xbox again.

My Xbox was the next to go. I removed all possible video games and systems from my life. I had an enormous amount of time now. My days felt so much longer. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Eventually, after doing some research and finding sites like Game Quitters, I decided to take action and find new hobbies.

Find New Hobbies

There’s a saying – “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Quitting video games will be near impossible without finding new hobbies.

With all of this extra time, I picked up activities such as scuba diving, bouldering, and travelling. I even started my own digital marketing businesses that I use to fund my travels and lifestyle.

By delving pretty deep into each of these hobbies’ respective communities, I’ve met more friends and made more high-quality relationships than I ever could have imagined.

It was difficult for me to leave behind all of my gaming friends. Some I knew in real life, and others I never even met. I had a lot of gaming friends. I even thought I had “deep” relationships with them.

Ever since I “quit” gaming, I don’t really hear from them. They’re good people and I hope to see them succeed in life. It just won’t be at my table.

How to Play Video Games in Moderation

After I took some time off from gaming, found new hobbies, and got my priorities straight, I wanted to find a way to introduce video games back into my life. When your life becomes so busy and fun that there’s little time to game, I think it’s possible to play video games responsibly.

Here’s how I’ve done it.

Avoid ‘Time Suck’ Games

One way I’ve found to limit video games is by avoiding the endless time-suck grind games. I don’t go anywhere near the endless grind video games I used to love like Call of Duty, League of Legends, and Path of Exile.

If I decide to play a video game, it’s for the story. Story video games are almost like movies for me. Games like Fallout, Far Cry, Witcher 3, and Skyrim all have a clear ending where video gaming stops. These are the only games I play or keep up with anymore.

Cloud Streaming

I’ve been travelling for 9 months now out of one backpack, so there’s no way for me to bring a console along for the ride (not that I’d even want to).

The last video game I played was Witcher 3, and I don’t see myself playing any others until Cyberpunk 2077 is released. Cloud streaming has allowed me to play video games once in a while without dedicating myself to the newest console.

The great thing about cloud streaming is you can delete and cancel your membership whenever you want, and it’s not amazing for playing the fast-paced time suck video games we mentioned above. There’s a slight delay but is unnoticeable for any slow-paced story/adventure game.

I don’t really think gaming is very different from watching Netflix, sports games, or any other hobbies. The main distinction between it and these hobbies is that you are battling a multi-billion dollar industry doing everything it can to addict you and extract every last dollar.

Understand what you’re up against, and set your life up in a way where it’s near impossible to become addicted.

Only this way was it possible for me to find balance gaming.

Thank you for taking the time to read my experience with video games, and hope there’s something you can take away from this.

Story submitted by Austin Tuwiner.

You’ve probably experienced this already – There are some games that bore you and might never again get the privilege of your time. Then there are the games that you can play for hours and days on end, literally until you are too tired to stay awake. Sometimes you might not even admit to yourself that you are tired, but either when your in-game performance suffers or your body shuts down you decide to call it a night.

Why does this happen? Why are some games more addictive than others?

A lot of it is down to personal preferences and needs, that’s why we – on a personal level – get addicted to specific games or genres.

But at the same time, a lot of players are addicted to the same games – think of the millions of players addicted to games such as Counter-Strike and other competitive first-person shooters, Battle Royale games, RPGs, MMOs, etc.

There is something about universally appealing about these games.

It has to do with how these games have been built, and the reactions or responses that they are designed to create for us.

Why Are Games So Addictive?

Some games are designed to tap into our competitive sides, for example, Battle Royale games like PUBG or other short time-limited competitive FPSs like Overwatch.

Some are designed to satisfy our social needs and the human desire to belong to a group or clan. You have games where you can be their leader or trade, interact, and make friends with dozens of other people all around the world.

Yet others give us intriguing storylines where you’re the hero and people rely on you to do your part in their fictional life – and of course, you want to help. Similarly, in some games, your real-life teammates rely on you, and again you want to prove your worth, skill and contribution. This gives you a sense of personal fulfilment, growth and satisfaction.

Most modern games are so immersive that they can allow you to escape your outside reality and be, more or less, worry-free while you play.

These mechanisms are very well thought out, down to the smallest level. If you’ve ever looked into game design you might know that games have to follow specific patterns and game mechanics – otherwise the game is either lacking a pattern that can be followed or is just plain boring.

Some of these mechanics are:

  • Levels – These exist in every game, even RPG or open-world games where they might be named chapters, missions, or even be delimited areas with enemies of increased difficulty that you can’t access in the beginning.
  • Goals/Tasks – Activities that you must perform to be rewarded or keep yourself engaged. As we mentioned, sometimes these can infer emotional responses such as helping someone in distress.
  • Challenges – Activities that take practice, or the development of a repetitive skill, to complete. Often lead to either frustration or fulfilment.
  • Point-based Systems – Either within the game, such as multiplication scores based on combos, or outside of the game such as “Competitive Scores” for the season. These can sometimes decrease if you are inactive or at the end of specific periods.
  • Character/Environment Design – Allows you to customize the world around you and express your personality. Even creating a digital avatar that’s a representation of your ideal self.

And just as some games can be boring if these elements are designed poorly, most top gaming companies hire highly experienced game designers whose sole purpose it is to perfect each of these elements.

Their result is a very ‘playable’ or addictive video game – a game that you can just come back to every single day without getting bored. Or even come back to it a long time after to replay it, because it was so good the first time around.

In other words, a game with a high “addiction factor”.

playing fifa addictive game

Calculate Your Addiction Score

The “game addiction factor” is a simple tool that was developed by a member of our community, Leo Burca, which you can use to score all the different games you encounter.

The addiction factor can be seen as a scale from 1 to 100 on which you use to score any game.

As an example, I’ll be using the numbers and reasons that Leo gave me, but you can (and should) give this a go with your own games.

This way you know which games are most addictive and bring about the most cravings, triggering your gaming disorder. So then you know which ones to “protect yourself” from the most.

So if a friend invites you to play Overwatch “just for tonight”, you know you have to refuse because it could eventually lead to you spiralling back into a video game addiction.

It’s important to point out that these scores are individual, because of all the elements we’ve previously discussed – each game affects an individual differently.

First, how well a game matches our unfulfilled individual needs. These relate to:

  • Competition
  • Social connection
  • Escape from real life
  • Growth, fulfilment, or a sense of accomplishment

The more needs a game fulfils, the more addicting it becomes to each individual.

To continue with the Overwatch example above, here’s what Leo said about the game using his direct quotes:

Competition: 23/25

It was matching this need because I didn’t have anything competitive in my personal life. The 6 vs 6 matches in Overwatch are highly competitive, require skill improvement and constant adaptation to new heroes and new team compositions.

Social Connection: 19/25

It was a partial match for me as I had a girlfriend at the time and friends that I shared hobbies in common with. But, because the game required communication and collaboration in order to win, the game fulfilled this need as well – I could go on playing for days or weeks without needing to see my friends in real life.

Escape: 23/25

This was a big factor drawing me back into the game regularly. Without getting too much into the details, a lot of my plans and dreams were failing and I didn’t see any way to fix the situation. I tried to process the loss consciously and logically, but the pain was still there. And while I was gaming I was so immersed that I didn’t have to think about that..

Growth: 22/25

This was a mixed one because even though I knew very well that this would not give me growth in my personal life and get any of my plans back on track, it still gave me a feeling of satisfaction. Every time I would have good teamwork or I would get to a new rank, I inevitably had a sense of personal accomplishment. These other plans crashed and burned even though I worked super hard, but at least I was still good at something and my team appreciated my contribution.

Total Score: 87/100

This is just an example, but you can score video games without breaking it into categories as I did, but this is the simplest and easiest approach to take.

Fighting Against the Gaming Industry

So far we have two main elements that increase the likelihood of a game being addictive:

  • The quality of the game design and game mechanics that game designers put out
  • How well the game matches our partially fulfilled or unfulfilled needs

However, it doesn’t stop there.

Game companies have developed ‘hooking tactics’ to get you to login on a daily basis, or at least a weekly basis in order to get free rewards. Rewards that you would otherwise have to pay for in the game store or by purchasing loot boxes.

For example, you can buy skins for your characters and guns. Or even get new emotes to show off with when you kill someone. These things aren’t free for a company to develop when you consider the hours spent designing, testing, and marketing. But, they know that if they keep implementing these new skins and perks, you’re going to keep coming back to play.

If these “free bonuses” wouldn’t prove profitable in the long term, companies wouldn’t spend their money simply so you can spray or emote over an enemy after you kill them.

I guarantee it won’t be long before they monetise teabagging.

So even if you’re busy, have hobbies you enjoy, or projects that you need to complete – they don’t care. They’ll use as many tactics as they can to make you jump back in the game regularly to win something. Or, as is the case with many popular mobile-games, not logging in will make you lose progress – such as Farmville or Candy Crush.

They expect you to have unlimited willpower to resist all of these tactics. And so, sometimes, the only realistic way to resist is to delete the game and go on with your life. Because we all know we don’t have unlimited willpower.

Gaming has become a multi-billion dollar business and a global phenomenon. Businesses have been pushed into developing further tactics to get players gaming and increase profitability. It is simply a reality in any business that reaches critical mass.

So these businesses penetrate our environment through ads on YouTube, at the cinema, in airports – spending not millions but BILLIONS of dollars on ads yearly that they know they will make back. An estimated 5 Billion dollars has been spent in 2020, up from 4.5 billion in 2019.

The Gaming Addiction Model

We’ve identified the 4 main elements that increase your individual likelihood to be addicted to a game, as well as increase the addiction factor of games.

gaming addiction model

From the outer to the inner layer the elements are:

  1. Your External Environment – lack of stimulation, dangerous (bullying, conflicts with parents or even the current coronavirus situation), too demanding, stumbling upon gaming ads, discounts, or even music.
  2. Hooking Tactics – Daily or weekly rewards, scores and seasons that are dependent on you playing, free skins and emotes to keep you coming back regularly.
  3. Game Mechanics and Design – Rewards and how frequent they are, the inherent satisfaction of the game, immersion, beautiful graphics and the game environment, your ability to customize your weapons, player, etc.
  4. Unfulfilled or Partially Fulfilled Needs – The usual suspects: Competition, escape, social connection, and growth.

We beat ourselves up for relapsing, we tell ourselves we are weak, that we don’t have a strong will and whatnot.

But in reality, you’re fighting a well-oiled machine that’s using 5 billion dollars per year and thousands of employees to design a virtual or digital paradise that generates instant satisfaction wherever you are at the touch of a button.

Yes, you have to continue making efforts to control your addiction, but you should be kinder to ourselves when you do relapse – you’re not always entirely to blame.

If you’re struggling to quit gaming, remember you can reach out to us and to our community on our forum. We’re here to help each other get through this together.

Finally, I’d like to mention that this post was written and submitted by a member of our community, Leo Burcă [burkeh]. You can find him at leoburca.com.

ADHD affects millions of families all over the world. In fact, 1 in 10 children between 5-17 years old gets diagnosed with the condition 1 1. Health conditions among children under age 18 years, by selected characteristics: United States, average annual, selected years 1997–1999 through 2015–2017. (2018). Health, United States, 1–4. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2018/012.pdf × . It leaves parents struggling, not fully understanding how to cope with the disorder, especially because so little has been known about it for so long. Fortunately, we know a lot more about it now than we did 20 years ago.

Research is constantly being done on how to treat ADHD, what causes it, and its relationship with other disorders such as depression and video game addiction.

If you’re a parent having difficulties with an over-active and inattentive child, the resources provided in this article will help you learn more about the disorder, and start taking the necessary steps in understanding how to overcome the problems that it brings.

What is ADHD

Also known as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD is a neurological condition that manifests as an ongoing lack of concentration and hyperactivity. It can affect a person’s ability to sit still or focus on a single task for long periods of time.

A certain degree of these symptoms are normal for most children. However, the behaviours exhibited by ADHD will likely cause those affected to stand out above their peers. Also, it can affect adults, but in general, the diagnosis will be given early on in childhood before the age of 12.

What Causes It?

Researchers all over the country are investigating the causes of ADHD. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has listed the following as potential causes:

  • Genetics
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy
  • Exposure to toxins, such as high levels of lead, at a young age
  • Low birth weight
  • Injuries to the brain 2 2. Mental Health Information. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health ×

In most cases, it seems as though genetics is the most likely cause of ADHD – accounting for 75% of risk 3 3. Demontis, D., Walters, R.K., Martin, J. et al. Discovery of the first genome-wide significant risk loci for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Nat Genet 51, 63–75 (2019). https://www.nature.com/articles/s41588-018-0269-7 × .

Another source highlights the link between the amount of grey matter present in the brain and those struggling with the disorder 4 4. Bonath, B., Tegelbeckers, J., Wilke, M., Flechtner, H.-H., & Krauel, K. (2016). Regional Gray Matter Volume Differences Between Adolescents With ADHD and Typically Developing Controls: Further Evidence for Anterior Cingulate Involvement. Journal of Attention Disorders, 22(7), 627–638. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26748338 × . A reduction in grey matter is linked to problems with speech, self-control, and decision making. Suggesting that people suffering from ADHD have structural differences in their brain compared to those without.

What Are the Symptoms?

When talking about the symptoms of ADHD, we usually split them into two overarching categories:

  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity

Let’s break each one into more detail.

Inattention

As we mentioned earlier, it’s normal for children to showcase some level of inattentiveness in school. However, those with ADHD can demonstrate any of the following symptoms:

  • Can’t maintain conversations or anything requiring sustained focus such as a lecture or reading a book
  • More likely to lose or misplace commonly used objects such as school supplies, phones, glasses, or keys
  • Doesn’t act on instructions
  • An inability to listen while being spoken to
  • Regularly make simple mistakes at school or in other activities
  • Difficulties staying organized at home or in their schoolwork
  • Have a tendency to avoid doing any tasks they know will require ongoing focus or mental exertion
  • Gets easily distracted, especially with unrelated thoughts, when starting tasks or chores

It can make it incredibly difficult for children to keep up in school when these symptoms arise. Especially if ADHD remains undiagnosed. It can result in the child feeling like they’re not good enough and not as smart as their friends. If left unchecked, these negative feelings can eventually evolve into more serious difficulties with anxiety, self-esteem, and depression later on.

Hyperactivity

There are a number of symptoms associated with hyperactivity:

  • Inability to stay still, especially while seated
  • Acting inappropriately (running, jumping, climbing) in situations where good behaviour is expected e.g. classroom, meetings, assembly
  • Can’t stay quiet when taking part in activities
  • Always in motion
  • Talking excessively
  • Struggling with normal conversations due to speaking out of turn or interrupting people’s sentence
  • Can’t wait their turn

These symptoms of ADHD can oftentimes result in the child getting into trouble, especially in school. The child won’t always understand why their actions have consequences, which can cause problems when in public spaces.

Diagnosing ADHD

If you suspect your child might be suffering from the disorder, you should book an appointment with a licensed paediatrician or psychiatrist with experience of ADHD and receive an extensive clinical evaluation. You could also try talking to your child’s school counsellor as an intermediate step before going to a specialist.

There are certain criteria that will need to be met before a diagnosis can be determined:

  • Making sure another health issue isn’t causing the problems
  • The behaviour has been ongoing for an extended period of time
  • The child’s hyperactivity or inattention exceed what’s normal for someone their age
  • Are the symptoms having a noticeable impact on their school and home life

Once your child has been diagnosed, you’ll be referred to a specialist or someone with more experience – depending on who gave you the evaluation.

You will then be given guidance on treating ADHD, which can range from medication to therapy.

How to Treat ADHD

When considering treatment options it’s worth noting that you won’t be able to remove the behaviour entirely, only lessen its effect. Also, different combinations of treatment will work for different people, so don’t lose hope if the first thing you try doesn’t end up working.

The extent of ADHD treatment generally falls into one of the following categories:

  • Medication
  • Coaching
  • Therapy
  • School Support

We’ll explore each treatment method in further detail below.

Medication

Medicine is the most commonly used treatment method for ADHD. It will either come in the form of a stimulant, or non-stimulant.

Stimulants

Stimulants are more common, as they are the most effective method for treating ADHD 5 5. Jensen, P. S., Garcia, J. A., Glied, S., Crowe, M., Foster, M., Schlander, M., … Wells, K. (2005). Cost-Effectiveness of ADHD Treatments: Findings From the Multimodal Treatment Study of Children With ADHD. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162(9), 1628–1636 https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.162.9.1628 × . They work by increasing the available concentrations of hormones such as Dopamine and Norepinephrine – which control alertness, focus, happiness, and many other bodily functions.

The medications shown to treat ADHD are Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse. Under no circumstances should you self-prescribe these medicines before consulting a medical professional.

Also, some side effects may occur as a result of taking ADHD stimulants 6 6. Cortese, S., Holtmann, M., Banaschewski, T., Buitelaar, J., Coghill, D., Danckaerts, M., … Sergeant, J. (2013). Practitioner Review: Current best practice in the management of adverse events during treatment with ADHD medications in children and adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54(3), 227–246. https://doi.org/10.1111/jcpp.12036 × 7 7. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). Safety Review Update of Medications used to treat ADHD. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-safety-review-update-medications-used-treat-attention × . Some possible side effects of taking stimulant medications are sleep loss, reduced appetite, increased blood pressure, and in very rare cases psychosis, hallucinations, and nerve damage 8 8. Cooper, W. O., Habel, L. A., Sox, C. M, ... (2016). ADHD Medications and Serious Cardiovascular Events in Children and Youth. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365, 1896–1904. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4943074/ × 9 9. Kraemer, M., Uekermann, J., Wiltfang, J., & Kis, B. (2010). Methylphenidate-Induced Psychosis in Adult Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Clinical Neuropharmacology, 33(4), 204–206. https://journals.lww.com/clinicalneuropharm/Abstract/2010/07000/Methylphenidate_Induced_Psychosis_in_Adult.8.aspx × 10 10. Mosholder, A. D., Gelperin, K., Hammad, T. A., Phelan, K., & Johann-Liang, R. (2009). Hallucinations and Other Psychotic Symptoms Associated With the Use of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Drugs in Children. Pediatrics, 123(2), 611–616. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2008-0185 × . It’s worth noting the more severe problems usually come about due to long-term use of medicine. As a child gets older symptoms will become easier to manage, and the dependency on medication should lessen.

Non-Stimulants

If treatment via stimulants is ineffective or noticeable side effects occur, you may be offered non-stimulant medication instead.

They can improve focus, attention, and impulsivity in a person with ADHD, and may even be given in combination with stimulants. Some examples of non-stimulant medications include Strattera and Tenex.

One of the advantages of non-stimulants is its long-lasting effects. While most stimulant medication stays in the system for 4-12 hours, non-stimulating medicine can last for up to 24. This can be useful if children have long school days, don’t like taking medication, or are away from home.

Coaching

ADHD coaching involved assisting the affected individual with matters such as time management, goal setting, and organization.

It’s primarily used in the treatment of adolescents and older, as working with children requires the coaching to be done with an active role from the parents. This isn’t always practical, and so the preferred approach is to wait until college before introducing coaching as an ADHD treatment method.

It differs from cognitive behavioural therapy by focusing on practical measures such as healthy habits, finances, nutrition, and sleep. Although CBT and coaching share some similarities, therapists are trained in dealing with the underlying emotional and comorbid issues that may be present.

You can find specialists in ADHD in our Professionals Directory

Therapy

Many problems can arise in people struggling with ADHD, and advice from trained mental health professionals such as therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can make a big difference in dealing with depression, anxiety, and other interpersonal difficulties.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a common and very effective approach that is used in many practices around the world. It involves changing negative thought patterns by implementing short-term goals and removing unhealthy internal dialogues.

School Support

Many schools, depending on your country, will offer help and advice for children struggling with ADHD. It can come in the form of counselling, parent meetings, 1-on-1 support and more lenient schoolwork.

It might involve working much more closely with affected children to ensure they receive the same opportunities as other children and aren’t restricted by ADHD and other learning difficulties.

Does Gaming Cause ADHD?

The exact cause of ADHD is unknown, and while the primary factor is thought to be genetic more research is being done into the effect of screens – most notably video games – on children.

Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD) is a common comorbid condition associated with ADHD. As more studies are being done into their relationship, some interesting research is starting to appear.

One recent study done in 2019 showed that people suffering from ADHD shared similar brain activity to those affected by Gaming Disorder 11 11. Han, D. H., Bae, S., Hong, J., Kim, S. M., Son, Y. D., & Renshaw, P. (2019). Resting-State fMRI Study of ADHD and Internet Gaming Disorder. Journal of Attention Disorders, 108705471988302. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1087054719883022 × . After one year of treatment for both of these disorders, the brain scans looked remarkably alike.

Another set of studies looking into the relationship between internet addiction and ADHD discovered that there’s a moderately significant association between the two. Those suffering from IGD were more likely to exhibit more severe symptoms of ADHD, and vice versa 12 12. Stavropoulos, V., Adams, B. L., Beard, C. L., Dumble, E., Trawley, S., Gomez, R., & Pontes, H. M. (2019). Associations between attention deficit hyperactivity and internet gaming disorder symptoms: Is there consistency across types of symptoms, gender and countries? Addictive Behaviors Reports, 9, 100158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.abrep.2018.100158 × , 13 13. Wang, B.-Q., Yao, N.-Q., Zhou, X., Liu, J., & Lv, Z.-T. (2017). The association between attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and internet addiction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry, 17(1). https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12888-017-1408-x × .

To add to this research, we have a surprising number of parents reaching out to Game Quitters for help whose children are suffering from both video game addiction and ADHD. It’s impossible to conclude that one directly causes the other, especially as there has also been a number of positive experiences from people using video games to aid in the treatment of ADHD 14 14. Kirsh, D. (2019, June 20). How a video game could treat ADHD. Retrieved from https://www.massdevice.com/how-a-video-game-could-treat-adhd/ × . However, we’ve found that when parents reduce the amount of time their ADHD-afflicted child spend in front of a screen, the symptoms start to reduce.

One possible explanation for this is due to the over-stimulating, hyperactive, and addictive nature of modern video games. The gaming industry now focuses on making games that are profitable, and this means designing them to be as addictive as possible. They’re working with psychologists and high-level specialists to create the most immersive experience possible. If you want to know more about all of the systems and tactics in place to keep you hooked on gaming, read our article about how games are designed to be addictive.

Next Steps

Whether you’re an experienced parent that has come here looking for more information about ADHD, or have been coping with the disorder for a long time and are running out of treatment options, it might be worth taking a look at your child’s screen use.

While it might seem like an easy solution to dealing with inattention and hyperactivity, there’s the possibility that you could be doing more harm than good by allowing them to spend their free time on video games.

If you’ve noticed your child losing interest in other hobbies or school-life, becoming distant or quick to anger, and prioritising gaming above more important things in their life then there’s a chance they could be addicted to gaming.

We’ve had countless parents thank us for helping to reclaim their child from the virtual world, and while we can’t guarantee the same results for you, it’s always worth exploring every opportunity you have available.

If you want to learn more and see if your child is suffering from gaming disorder, take our gaming addiction test for parents. It only takes a couple of minutes, is completely free, and could help you better understand some of the behaviours your loved one is exhibiting.

Thanks for reading our parent’s guide to ADHD. At Game Quitters we’re committed to providing as much information and value as we can to parents, and ADHD has been a much-requested topic for a long time. We’ll be constantly releasing new resources to help you deal with this problem, and how to better manage video games in an ADHD household. If you have any questions, comments, or feedback just send us a message and we’ll do our best to help.

Finally, if you are a parent struggling with video game addiction, join our parent support group on Facebook. We’ve got almost 2,000 parents in our close-knit community where you’ll be met with support from an amazing group of parents all fighting their own battles.

Once Gaming Disorder was classified as a real disease by the World Health Organization in 2019, people all around the world were quick to both support and criticize the decision. While this has been great for building awareness, it also results in a lot of misinformation surrounding video game addiction to be spread online.

The official definition for Gaming Disorder is:

a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences

Or, more simply, you might have a problem if you start to prioritize gaming over your everyday responsibilities.

Not sure if you’re addicted to gaming? Take the test:

 

Millions of People Are Addicted to Gaming

Pretty shocking, right? Before I did the research I honestly didn’t expect it to be so high. You might even think it’s a little too high. After all, only 3-4% of gamers suffer from an addiction. However, when you realise that there are 2 and a half BILLION gamers in the world, the number starts to make more sense.

Symptoms will differ in severity dramatically from person to person, and for some people, the problem will be minor. One person may struggle with going to bed late and eating healthy because they can’t stop gaming. Another might be neglecting their children in order to play games for 16 hours a day, never leaving the house.

However, this doesn’t mean one person’s illness should outweigh another.

A lot of people, especially hardcore gamers, are quick to dismiss someone suffering from gaming disorder as having a trivial, or non-existent, problem. It’s not as simple as just turning off the computer. Gaming addicts go through withdrawal symptoms similar to people in recovery for alcohol or drug addiction. Shaking, nausea, tiredness, anxiety, and headaches are all common problems when people try to quit gaming.

As a result, people should be able to get the treatment they need regardless of their situation, As awareness of gaming disorder increases, hopefully, we can reduce the stigma surrounding video game addiction to match.

male vs female gaming

Men Are More Likely to Suffer from Gaming Disorder

What do you think the average gamer looks like? A man in his early 20’s, perhaps a college student? Wrong. It’s actually a woman in her mid 30’s.

Now, I’ll be honest. This might come from the former gamer inside me, but I find it difficult to classify someone that plays 30 minutes of Candy Crush every day as a gamer. But, that’s what the research says, so we’re going to stick with it.

However, while genders in gaming sit at around 50/50, the numbers change dramatically when we look at gaming addiction. According to our figures, over 90% of the people seeking help for gaming disorder are men.

Why is this the case?

A lot of research has been done into the differences between males and females in the world of addiction, but only relatively recently have studies been done on internet gaming disorder.

One study carried out in 2018 by Dong et al discovered that men who play video games experience higher levels of brain activity in the medial frontal gyrus and bilateral middle temporal gyri. This resulted in a higher likelihood to experience cravings for gaming, even after only 30 minutes of playing. 1 1. Gender-related differences in neural responses to gaming cues before and after gaming: implications for gender-specific vulnerabilities to Internet gaming disorder ×

The researchers measured brain activations using fMRI scanning before, during, and after gaming. The subjects also took part in a cue-craving task before and after gaming. These results suggest neural mechanisms for why males may be more vulnerable than females in developing gaming disorder.

Another point to consider is the natural competitiveness of males compared to females, combined with the ability to dedicate 100% focus on the task at hand without getting bored.

In my 20+ years of gaming, I’ve never known a woman that had spent more than 60 hours a week playing video games – week-in, week-out. However, I know a load of guys – including myself – that have done this regularly.

It’s not the case with every man or woman, obviously, I can only speak from experience. But the innate desire to beat other people, to improve, and to challenge ourselves constantly is something I’ve seen repeated time and time again in my male gamer friends.

College Students at Greater Risk of Video Game Addiction

Let me know if this sounds familiar to you.

I started gaming at around 4 or 5, but gaming was never a problem. Throughout my childhood I lived an active life, I had good friends, and I thought of video games as a treat. Once I got to high school, I started to play more, especially online games.

School wasn’t particularly difficult, and as a result, I could get away with doing assignments late and spending more time playing video games. However, once I got into college I no longer had my parents or teachers holding me accountable.

Soon after starting college I became overwhelmed and started using video games as an escape from my problems. I showed signs of depression, I wasn’t sleeping properly, and my diet and gone downhill. It wasn’t long until I would spend the majority of my time gaming in order to get away from my responsibilities.

For a large portion of people in the Game Quitters community, video games were never a problem until university. Sure, the symptoms might start in school. For example, I would spend most of my time at home playing video games. But, because I was still living with my parents I was eating well, I was sleeping okay, and I still saw my friends every day at school.

However, as I mentioned before, once you get to college all of a sudden you’re alone. No one’s breathing down your back to get your work done. No one is coming to save you.

A lot of people aren’t used to this level of difficulty, and so they fall back to what’s comfortable. The one thing that has always been there when they needed it. This is, of course, gaming.

Which, if left unchecked, will inevitably lead to further problems and even result in developing an addiction to gaming.

When we play video games we’re in total control. Nothing can go wrong, and even though we can lose progress, it’s impossible for us to fail. You’ll never actually suffer real-world consequences if you experience a setback in a video game. So, when things become too much in your real life, your brain wants you to get back to the virtual world where it feels safe.

Your brain is actually affected a lot more than you might realise by gaming. Even a small amount of gameplay can cause issues, and not many people really understand this.

Want to know more about gaming’s effect on your brain? Keep reading to find out.

Video Games Are Addictive By Design

Surprisingly, it’s in the industry’s best interests to make as much money as they can.

How do they do that? By making their games as addictive as possible. Or, in their words, “fun and engaging”.

You might think all they need to do is make a great game and the money will follow. If only it were so simple.

In actuality, many companies are utilizing the help of psychologists and addiction experts in order to keep you hooked on their game for as long as possible. They’re implementing game mechanics based on scientific research into addictive behaviours, and doing whatever they can to disguise them as “revolutionary” new features.

Want to know more? Watch the video below to find out, and check out our article on how games are designed to be addictive.

Also, if you’re interested in which video games are more addictive than others, read through our list of the 9 most addicting games in the world to see why some games are more likely to keep you playing than others.

How Gaming Affects Your Brain Chemistry

Have you ever tried to learn a new hobby? Whether you’re currently a gamer, or have recently quit playing, you’ll understand just how difficult it can be.

You start off full of excitement and motivation to improve. You think about all of the things that you can accomplish through this activity, and you love every hour you pour into it.

However, after what might be a day, a week, or a month, you start to lose interest. You don’t really feel in the mood for it or you’d rather be doing something else. Eventually, after missing out on one too many practice sessions, you take part in the hobby for the last time.

What follows is usually a feeling of being disheartened by life. Perhaps you feel like you’re not talented enough to do what you wanted. You feel like a failure.

If you’re a former gamer this will likely result in you experiencing cravings for video games.

But why does this happen? In the past, you found it so easy to take up new hobbies. You didn’t have a problem practising an instrument every day when you were young. So, what changed?

The answer: video games.

You see, humans have a fundamental set of needs that have to be fulfilled. As it so happens, video games are incredibly good at satisfying these needs.

They allow you to experience growth, escape, challenge, competition, and social activity on a level that you can’t find anywhere else. To add to this, if you’re playing games, you’re also becoming accustomed to getting rewards with minimum investment.

When you can pick up a game and be proficient in a matter of minutes or hours, your brain expects the same thing to happen with new skills.

You might think that’s ridiculous. No one can pick up a guitar and master it in a week. But that’s not what your brain thinks.

The only thing your brain is focused on is survival and pleasure with as little effort as possible. It’s always going to choose the path of least resistance.

What do you think your brain will find more enjoyable? Spending 10 hours playing the guitar to learn one song, or beating an entire game’s campaign?

Of course, it’s going to choose to game.

You’ve become so accustomed to the level of stimulation that gaming provides, that when you try to do anything else you’re going to get pulled back to the easiest and most comfortable form of pleasure.

This is why extended periods of gaming for years is so problematic. You’re dissatisfied with your life so you decide to change. However, once you try to do something different, your brain does everything it can to take you back to video games.

It’s a vicious cycle that’s incredibly hard to escape from. But, it can be done.

How to Treat Gaming Disorder

It’s important to remember that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Millions of people are affected by Gaming Disorder, and more and more of them are coming forward to get the help that they need.

Game Quitters is an online community with videos, a forum, and a wealth of information available for free in our articles.

If you’re looking for something more professional, take a look at our video game addiction therapist directory.

Want some inspiration on what’s possible if you decide to quit gaming? Read through some of our community stories and you’ll soon feel like anything is possible.

Even if you don’t want to quit gaming, you never know how your life might change if you take some time to escape the virtual world.

Interested? Take 90 days off gaming now, and change your life for the better.

How many times have you sat down to get some work done, only to find yourself opening up YouTube and before you know it half the day has gone?

I like to think I use productively, but in reality, I waste so much time on the website it’s almost unbelievable. I tell myself I’m going to just watch documentaries, TED talks or useful videos, but after a couple of days I go back to watching meme compilations and nonsense.

If you really want to be productive and get work done, you’re going to have to stay away from YouTube. What’s the best way to do that? You need to learn how to delete your YouTube account.

When I first did this, while hesitant at first, I saw a huge shift in my productivity. I recommend trying it out, and staying away from YouTube for at least a week and see how your life changes. I guarantee you’ll see a big difference in your focus, productivity, and even your sleep.

 

Prefer to watch the video? We’ve got you covered.

Step 1 – Find Advanced Settings

Log on to YouTube, click your profile in the top right, and head over to “Settings”.

How to Delete Your YouTube Account

 

On the following screen under “Your YouTube channel”, find the “View advanced settings” button and click it.YouTube Settings

 

Step 2 – Delete Your YouTube Channel

Click the “Delete channel” button and you’ll be taken to a confirmation screen.

YouTube Delete Channel

 

Click the dropdown, fill in the checkbox, and hit “Delete My Content”.

Delete My YouTube Content

 

Step 3 – Confirm Account Deletion

Finally, fill in your account’s e-mail address and click the “Delete my content” button.

YouTube Deletion Confirmation

 

Once you’re done you’ll be taken to a confirmation screen. That’s it! Your YouTube account has been deleted.

YouTube Has Been Deleted

 

Just a quick note, it might take a bit of time to confirm your account deletion, but once you see this screen you don’t need to take any further action.

All you need to do now is avoid going back to the website and making a new account, which is much harder than it seems!

 

If you don’t want to delete your YouTube account, I’d recommend at least clearing your YouTube history to give your account a fresh reset without losing your data.

To say Twitch has taken the world of gaming by storm would be an understatement. What was once a fairly unknown streaming platform, has turned into a service regularly used by more than 50% of gamers while they play. Did you know 350 billion minutes of Twitch were watched in 2017 alone?

It’s inevitable, then, that while the majority of people are using the platform effectively, there are some people having problems. I know that once I’m in the Twitch rabbit hole, it’s not difficult for me to spend 40+ hours a week watching live streams.

As a result, I created this guide on how to delete your Twitch account and help you take back control over your free time once and for all.

Prefer to watch the video?

Step 1 – Go to Twitch Settings

Log on to Twitch, click your profile in the top right and head over to the “settings” page.

Delete Twitch Settings

 

Step 2 – Disable Twitch Account

On the settings page, scroll to the bottom and click “Disable Account”.

Disable Twitch Account

 

Step 3 – Confirm Twitch Account Deletion

Finally, just click the button to confirm the account deletion process and that’s it. You’re all done!

Twitch Account Deletion Confirmation

 

The process of deleting your Twitch account is a lot simpler than most programs out there, with no waiting for support or endless confirmation boxes.

What are you going to do with all this free time now that Twitch has left your life? Check out our hobby tool to find out more!

If you described Netflix to me 15 years ago I would have thought you were crazy. On the surface, it seems like an incredible and revolutionary website, and it is.

But, despite all of the enjoyment and ‘chilling’ Netflix has brought us since its streaming debut in 2010, it has been the ruin of productivity and good quality sleep.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. If you’re having trouble keeping off the platform, then you should learn how to delete your Netflix account, so you can start focusing on the more important things in life.

You know, like spending your weekends effectively.

By the way, if you cancel your membership, then Netflix will delete your account within 10 months automatically. However, that’s too long for some people. That’s why we’ve created this guide to cancel Netflix without having to wait almost a year. It does require an extra step, though, but don’t worry. It doesn’t take long.

Want to watch the video? Check it out here:

Step 1 – Cancel Your Netflix Membership

Go to the homepage and click on your user in the top right.

Delete Netflix Account

 

Then, navigate to your account and press the “Cancel Membership” button.

Cancel Netflix Membership

 

You’ll see a confirmation screen, just click Finish Cancellation” and there you go. Your membership has been cancelled.

Netflix Cancellation Confirmation

 

If you want to leave it there, your account will be deleted in 10 months. But, for those of you want to permanently delete Netflix right now, keep reading to see how to do it.

Step 2 – Contact Support

Unfortunately, if you want to get it done as soon as possible, you’re going to have to contact support. There’s no longer an option to e-mail Netflix, at least not through their website, so you’ll have to call them or start a live chat.

Head over to the “Help Centre” by clicking your user in the top right.

Netflix Help Centre Location

 

Then, click on the button at the bottom of the page to “Start Live Chat”. Select the option to tell them what your issue is highlighted in red.

Netflix Live Chat Support

 

Send them a message saying “I want to delete my Netflix account” and then press submit.

Want to Delete Netflix Account

 

Once you’ve done this, support should guide you through the process of deleting your account. It shouldn’t take long, Netflix support is quite robust.

And that’s it. Now that you’ve deleted your Netflix account you can get back to doing all the things you love, like binging YouTube videos and watching one of the billion other streaming services out there.