Gaming Addicton Research Study: Are Video Games Addictive?


Concerned about your children's time playing video games? Do you ever have a concern they are becoming addicted to playing. Signs to look for to determine how serious their problem is characterized by the following: From Wikipedia: "suggested by some in the medical community as a distinct behavioral addiction characterized by excessive or compulsive use of computer games or video games that interferes with a person's everyday life. Video game addiction may present itself as compulsive gaming, social isolation, mood swings, diminished imagination and hyper-focus on in-game achievements, to the exclusion of other events I life." Just as present in any other type of addiction including alcohol, tobacco, pain killers, cocaine, there are predictable problems with tolerance, withdrawal, and dependence. According to a study by Diane Kuss, with NIMH,
"neuroimaging studies indicate that Internet gaming addiction shares similarities with other addictions, including substance dependence, at the molecular, neurocircuitry, and behavioral levels." Link to study: NIMH Study on Gaming Addiction. If you are interested in completing an assessment, complete the form.Bottom line, the study says, about 6% of users become severely addicted. There is help available, but there will be withdrawal, emotional reactions and fears arise. Prepare by "detoxing" with a slow withdrawal with an end date in mind. Creating a host of alternative behaviors to replace the video-gaming time will be necessary. This should including re-establishing social connections and getting back into the world. Not an easy concept for someone who made be socially anxious, phobic or really, really shy. However, like any other addiction, there is help and there are ways to manage your life. All addictions change the brain. If you want to get some help for yourself or your child, call me. I will help you score and assess the seriousness of your time spent online with video-gaming to determine if you are addicted. 
Link to the actual article:   Internet Gaming Article

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Negativity & Mood: "Avoid Debbie Downer"

Einstein has a pretty good point to stay away from negative people. Consider the following scenario; take a moment  you think about 2 people in your life. Imagine what you are like with a positive person and how you are with  a complainer that sucks your energy with negativity. It is likely that your mood and perspective immediately changes. Your mood can shift from positive to negative just considering history of your time and quality of the relationship. If the person in you mind is always  difficult, pessimistic, complainer or  gossip, your instincts are likely to shift to dread or avoidance. (At least mine does). Trust those instincts and reactions.
On the other hand, think of someone you adore, feel excited to spend time with, have positive feelings about past encounters, your mood elevates, you find reasons to want to call, spend time with and enjoy  mutual admiration and respect. You most likely feel lifted, happy and enjoy the entire experience from initial thought of spending time together  to post moment afterwards. When you can have this type of positive  experience  with a friend should be honored and developed. On the other hand, negative and unrewarding times with other should be limited or even eliminated. Pursue compassionate, thoughtful, empathetic relationships. Your instincts are your compass for how you spend your time and who you choose to be with in your life. Dump the Downers in you life and thoughts!!!! 

Mental Illness & Use of Social Media

In a recent article in the Economist regarding a study in Britons in a study by the Royal Academy of Public Health in 2017, there was a pretty disturbing review of what use of social media is doing to the brain, emotions contributing to mental illness from ages 14-24. The link below  will take you to the complete  article. The chart below clearly demonstrates how powerful social media is affecting the mental health of users. As you can see, the more obsessed you are with social media, the great the negative impact on FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), anxiety, depression and sleep. The remedy is to become  more social, build self-esteem and real world relationships, garner emotional support, work on your physical health and self-awareness. Monitoring and limiting  your time on social  media may be the first step. The "problem" described in the study compares overuse of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Texting, Tinder, Redit, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, WhatApp, LinkedIn, email, and phone equivalent to addiction such as gambling or drug addicts. Basically, overuse  of social media has been demonstrated to be detrimental to your emotional well-being and mental health.  Of course, what is too much? Is there such a thing as moderation? Do a check-in with your own time on social media, check your mood afterward to determine if you feel better or worse emotionally. In general, the study indicated the following: "Nearly 63% of Instagram users reported being miserable, a higher share than for any other social network. They spend an average of nearly an hour per day on the  app. The 37% who are happy spend an average of just over half as long. The happiness rate is much higher for FaceTime (91%), a video-calling app, and phone calls (84%). When it comes to social networking, actual conversations are hard to beat."

Stress Busters Interview on Good Day Houston with Debora Duncan

Stress is inevitable. What we do with stress is perception, attitude, confidence, fear, worry and history of resilience all wrapped up into one package. Mainly, perhaps hard to believe, but how we view events determines their meaning. If we believe a person, situation, experience is dangerous, out of control, we will likely react with feeling and being stressed. We get stressed out when we become overwhelmed and our resources, sleep, rest, and social life is suffering. Can you prevent stress, not likely. Can you manage it better, very likely. This short interview video may provide some pointers. Take a look at this 2011 interview on Good Day Houston for some fun facts.

Live longer

In a recent Ted Talk, I was intrigued to hear about what makes a difference with longevity, health and happiness. This chart will show you the findings of the study, but you really need to listen to the talk by Susan Pinker. 
Of course, paying attention to the other factors on the list is also a pretty good idea. These are the usual suspects of health. Smoking and alcohol are top candidates for you to modify and very much in your control. However, there are genetic and learned factors that predispose you to addiction. It will take professional help to treat longer standing and deeper issues related to addiction. The message is clear, stay connected socially and keep, develop or enhance close relationships. Take classes, join groups, find purpose and meaning to make your life more interesting, adventurous and especially FUN. Book clubs, bible studies, retreats, bingo, games nights, bowling, or continuing education classes helps your brain and connect to others. Why are the people in Scandinavian countries also cited at the happiest people and cultures? They are the most socially connected. Surprise yourself by trying some new things to do with your life and free time. 
Click on this link.  Longevity Talk by Susan Pinker 

Test Anxiety........Harms Performance

Harnessing difficult material for any standardized test can be difficult by itself. Anxiety interferes with concentration, focus and retention. There are many tools that can minimize or even eliminate performance anxiety. Managing anxiety is a skill to be learned, not magic. Learning to let go of fear, pressure, perfection are important aspects of breaking free of fear. When there is a great deal riding on a score to get into business school, medical or law school or even college, many people simply lock up. Scores go down and more anxiety sets in and performance suffers. Learning to be present, mindful, positive, confident and calm contribute to better performance and higher scores. Keeping your life in balance helps achieve better life balance and greater satisfaction with managing the sacrifices necessary when you chose to advance yourself.  Follow some the tips from this blog. Be sure you have a strategy, have developed the ability to calm yourself when you need to. If you follow the tips and strategies of your tutor, you will not only improve, you will feel better about the entire process or preparation. Mental rehearsal used by athletes, relaxation techniques, meditation, cognitive re-framing, and imagery are a few of the tools that will help you perform at the level you need to advance you life, career and education.
Click on this link for more information.
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