VIDEO GAME ADDICTION: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

The term video game addiction responds to a non-toxic type of addiction within behavioral addictions in which an uncontrollable vice develops.

Sometimes, not carrying out this activity involves stress, a high degree of anxiety and even eating and sleeping disorders.

Gamers addicted to video games lose control over the frequency with which they play and the duration, that is, the time they spend playing.

This habit resembles addictive behavior, since it is uncontrollable for the addict and often suffers from conduct disorder as a result of not playing.

Video game addiction is officially a disease, as recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization).

This disorder has been included in the International Classification of Diseases since 2018 after years without being updated.

At CITA we have successfully carried out a treatment against video game addiction and have recovered from this strong increase, which begins with the commonly said: video game addictions.

Adicción a los Videojuegos:


It is common to believe that this problem is only common among adolescents, but video game addiction in adults has grown in recent years, becoming a problem to be treated. But do we really know what video game addiction is? When is it considered addiction?

Detecting video game addiction is strictly psychological. In the same way that going out to play sports, playing video games involves a series of mental stimuli that can end up distorting behavior.

There are more and more video game players, which is openly known as the gaming culture, and more and more video game addicts are camouflaged through competitive tournaments and championships worldwide, where the best players compete in a professional league; known as eSports.

This form of entertainment generates a series of positive effects on adolescents and adults, but it can also cause a disorder that causes addiction to video games and generates a change in the life of the player.

Addiction to online games is identified when dependence on video games appears, it becomes so intense that more time is spent than should be dedicated to the daily obligations and responsibilities of each person. Cases have been detected in which a video game addict has spent more hours playing than sleeping, players who do not rest to eat or who suffer from mental disorders such as hearing video game identifiers while at rest.



    It is important to bear in mind that the causes of video game addiction can be varied and depend on several factors, but currently the most fashionable video games and those that cause more disorders of admission to an addiction center are known as role-playing video games. and Battle Royale video games.

    Perform missions within the video game

    In both cases, the video game itself is configured so that players always have some reason to continue playing, be it today or tomorrow.

    That is, most of these games internally have a set of missions to perform to get a prize, either experience points to level up or to get certain items that make them exclusive.

    They allow to obtain recognition

    Not only that, but when we talk about level, we can talk about recognition, leader or even social recognition within the game itself.

    The level cap is often high, requiring hours and hours of dedication.

    The video game is infinite: Updates

    Practically when the game is about to be completed, the creators themselves usually release an update where new goals appear to be achieved. This strategy allows developers to maintain their audience, causing many players to become addicted to video games.

    Battle Royale addiction

    This new game mode like Fortnite, among others, that try to compete against other players in real time to survive by eliminating the rest of the characters. This system generates frustration when you do not win the game because the matches against other players are lost.

    This generates a desire to be better, requiring more and more hours of training and ends up generating addiction to video games. And an addiction to Fortnite or to any game of this type, trapping both adults and adolescents and generating anxiety.

    Adicción a los Videojuegos: síntomas


    The symptoms of video game addiction in adults and adolescents are evident and, if detected, they should contact a specialist such as the expert psychologists at CITA Clinics.

    • Playing video games for more than four hours a day without stopping.
    • Always prefer video games to other recreational activities.
    • Avoid encounters with friends and even abandon friendships to devote more time to video games.
    • Feeling the need to constantly play and not rest or think about other things.
    • Neglecting their work, damaging their school or work performance.
    • React irritably if interrupted or time restrictions are imposed.
    • Inability to enjoy other activities and have sudden mood swings or a tendency to isolation.
    • Excessive spending of money, even having other payment priorities.
    • Poor diet and eating disorders as a consequence.


    As with all addictions, online and offline video game addiction treatment begins with recognizing the problem. Due to the novelty of this pathology, identifying this problem is often complex.

    Dr. Fàbregas identifies the essential factors for the treatment approach.

    1. Recognize the vice of video games

    Sometimes, neither the game addict nor his environment are able to recognize the problem at first, but when the addiction begins to develop is when they stop resisting the obvious and seek help to quit video games.

    When a subject presents clear signs of anxiety or changes in attitude if the development of the activity is impossible, that is when it is necessary to act with more agility.

    2. Identify and separate addiction from social problems

    It is necessary to clarify the nature of this disease and specify what factors are the consequence of the problem, since there is no single cause of addiction to video games.

    Sometimes, it comes as a consequence of a social, family or other lack in which the addiction to the computer or the console is simply the summit of the problem and not the problem itself.

    But it can also be the opposite, that addiction affects other situations. In this case, the order of the factors does alter the result.

    Tratamiento de adicción a los Videojuegos

    3. Vice: Control and limit the frequency. Substitute for other activities

    Playing computer games does not have to be addicting. A responsible use of these gaming tools must be for recreational reasons and not exceed certain limits.

    At the moment when we feel that computer or console video games disrupt our habits, we must limit the time spent and practice other activities.

    4. Perform a video game cessation therapy

    More and more players are addicted to role-playing games. This is the case of: WOW addiction, LOL addiction, Fortnite addiction or adult video game addiction.

    Role-playing games are usually the ones that generate the most addiction since there is no end game and they encourage you to continue playing for hours and hours to achieve more goals. Unlike the usual games, which once finished and were put aside, these types of games have no end.

    To know how to treat video game addiction, it is necessary to go to one of the rehabilitation centers for addicts in order to detect the root of the problem and start the relevant treatment.

    If you consider that you may be facing a disorder due to video games and you need help, fill out this contact form where specialists in treating video game addicts will solve your addiction.


    Video game addiction affects adolescents and adults alike, at Cita Clinics we are specialists in treating video game addiction. We can help you, we will put at your disposal all our professional resources so that you can overcome your addiction.

      About the Author: Dr. Josep Mª Fàbregas


      Especialista en adicciones y director psiquiatra del centro de adicciones y salud mental Clínicas CITA. Inicié mi carrera profesional en el Hospital Marmottande París, donde trabajé con el Profesor Claude Olievenstein. Posteriormente me trasladé a Nueva York y, tras varios años de experiencia profesional, en 1981 fundé CITA (Centro de Investigación y Tratamiento de las Adicciones) con el objetivo de desarrollar un modelo de comunidad terapéutica profesional, el cual lleva 32 años en funcionamiento.