With addiction, the first thing that comes to mind are the drugs, but people often fail to realize that there are so many more things people become addicted to and most of them aren’t even self-destructive. Many people have to drink coffee every morning in order to be able to work during the day. There are those who instinctively check their phones every other minute. Addictions can come in many forms and while it is often difficult to measure the extent of an addiction, or even recognize one in the first place, there are a few activities that are known for their extreme addictiveness. Gambling and gaming are known for drawing in people for years or even decades. While there is a large part of gamblers and gamers who enjoy these activities in their free time and in small doses, there are also others who sacrifice their health and well-being. It is hard to say which is more addictive as there are extreme and mild cases for both activities but we can analyze what’s addictive about each one (full story here in the Norwegian language).
What makes gaming addictive?
Gaming addiction is a serious problem as the number of people riveted to their computer screens is growing by year. While some might note that being addicted to a video game isn’t any different to being addicted to a sports game, there are some obvious differences. First of all, sitting in front of the computer for hours precludes one from being physically active, which has some obvious negative consequences for the health. In addition, there is little social interaction involved in gaming, which makes it difficult for people addicted to gaming to integrate in the society when the need comes. Although, in the modern age, as many processes are computerized, these people might go on with their lives, finding a lucrative job and occupation all without leaving the confines of their rooms.
In fact, one of the things that lead to gaming addictions is the fear of social interactions. Some people are natural introverts and prefer the solitude to being in social environments. For such people, the necessity to interact with other people usually gradually dissipates that fear. The necessity occurs as these people have to occupy themselves somehow. With the emergence of video games, such introverts have an option to spend their day enjoying themselves and avoiding what they fear. That is one of the reasons why gaming could be so addictive for some people.
Some games offer a virtual world with a developing storyline. When people start playing these games, they build some sort of progress in the game as they put their time and effort into it. As the time goes by, they find it more and more difficult to abandon that process and effort, which is why it is so hard for them to quit. Such games have proven to be some of the most addictive ones. Furthermore, some games offer a progressive plot and the curiosity to find out what comes next is often too much to overcome.
What makes gambling addictive?
Gambling is very different from gaming in terms of what makes it addictive. Many people start out gambling with the desire to have fun for one night or two as they don’t have any plans to be involved in it for a long period of time. As they find themselves losing, they are driven by the desire to recoup their losses only to find themselves ensnared in an activity they can’t get out of. Then with a strike of luck they win again and experience the euphoria winning brings. Over the time, gamblers become addicted to this feeling as they keep losing and waiting for that one win. While the psychology of a gambler is complex and difficult to exploit, it is often not the appeal of sudden riches or the desire to recover losses that drives the addiction. On the contrary, it is the enjoyment of every moment, including the losses that doesn’t allow the addicted gamblers to leave the activity and move on with their lives.