Addiction To Video Games Rising, But Health Benefits Exist

While addiction to video games is growing, so too are the health benefits from moderate gaming experiences. That’s the mixed signal being sent to online gamers from new research released this month.

As far as addiction to video games is concerned, two separate media outlets produced reports on the subject. A TV station from Tucson, Arizona, detailed how a local facility for treating addiction reported a rise in the number of cases for gaming addiction.

“When people get to the point that they’re seeking inpatient treatment to deal with a gaming addiction, that’s a pretty serious thing,” Cottonwood Addiction Rehab and Behavioral Health Treatment Center Clinical Director Kathleen Parrish said. “This isn’t just about a brain addiction to a game, this is about a host of other symptoms for that individual. While they’re gaming they don’t have to face the fact that they’re depressed, or that they can’t function, or their world is falling apart.”

A radio station in San Francisco also reported on the lack of health benefits associated with addiction to video games. The station goes into great detail during their 10-minute segment with Dr. Min Tan as to whether addiction to video games is a disorder or not. Tan’s advice is clear: He sees addiction as an illness plaguing the younger generation of gamers.

“First the parents are like, ‘Hey, he’s on the computer — it’s Silicon Valley. Great!’ Why not? They don’t realize they substitute their world in the internet to the real world.”

Despite the negatives surrounding addiction, video games can also produce health benefits, too. A study from the University of California in Irvine suggested that playing particular video games can boost overall memory by 12 percent, according to an article from the school. The experiment links the health benefits to playing 3D games by playing as little as 30 minutes every day for two weeks.

Those are not the only health benefits associated with playing video games, another article revealed. When not at the addiction level, video games can help relieve stress, build or foster relationships, and improve hand-eye coordination, a Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet article explained. In addition, the relative fast pace with which decisions must be made can help individuals increase their capacity for decision-making, according to research.

Other health benefits created by video games include the sociological impact this recreational activity can have. Dr. Mark Griffiths described in the U.K. Nottingham Post the social impact the video games provide as “fun, engaging, motivating, interactive, rewarding, and stimulating” activities. Additional health benefits include the ability to develop “characteristics such as self-esteem, self-concept, and goal-setting.”

One thing that is certain is that video games – and the billions produced by the industry – are not going away anytime soon despite their potential for addiction. The massive amount of revenue brought in by video games continues to rise each year, Money’s Edge blog reported. The money raised in October 2015 – including game-related advertising revenue – was greater than the $3.1 billion spent by online shoppers on Cyber Monday, a reason leading more individuals into the industry.

Count Ahmed Raza as one of them. The creator of, Raza was drawn into the market for both financial and personal gains.

“Growing up, I spent quite a bit of my time playing games,” Raza said. “But now that I am grown up I decided to build a game website to fulfill my childhood passion and earn some money on the side as well.”

Are you surprised that despite the chance for addiction, playing video games have several health benefits? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

[Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images]