The internet has reinvented how we socialise, access information and entertain ourselves. It is easy to suffer from social media and gaming addiction since we are more socially connected than ever before, with games, web apps. and social media.
Sometimes, online connections with friends, family, peers and colleagues can in itself become an social media and gaming addiction. Some feel an overpowering urge to always know what is happening for others or to over-share details from their own lives. This is an addiction and is driven by the same dopamine hit that many other addictions are caused by. If this behaviour starts interfering with relationships and life goals, it’s important to seek help from a psychologist.
Gaming is a similar addiction with a dopamine reaction being given each time a goal is achieved. Games are created with this in mind and often there are penalties for not continuing to play. Gaming is also now socially connected with many gamers from around the world playing the same game. Living in the virtual world also allows gamers to escape who they are in the real world and be someone else entirely.
Internet usage, social media usage and gaming are similar in their effects on the brain and can remain harmless if they are controlled. Out of control and as addictions they can be harmful and, in extreme cases, may lead some people to play or interact all night and to neglect meals and other responsibilities.
If you have a problem with social media, gaming or internet usage generally, a Three Seas Psychologist can help.