Anxiety and Video Game Addiction

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Anxiety and Video Game Addiction


I just discovered this website, and from reading the posts on this forum, I can tell that video game addiction cannot be understood on its own or in a bubble -it is linked to other conditions as well, including depression and anxiety. Video game addiction is a coping mechanism to deal with fears in the real world, and that is why people with anxiety seem to be more susceptible to developing a video game addiction. 

My boyfriend has anxiety as well as a video game addiction. I have been trying to understand his addiction to video games and his anxiety for a long time now. What frustrates me, is that he does not want to understand his condition. As someone who has studied psychology in university, I feel like I have knowledge of tools to help him (cognitive behaviour therapy, goal setting, psychotherapy, etc). However, every time I try to have discussions with him, whether it be about his video game addiction or his anxiety, he shuts me down (ignores me, get annoyed, doesn't seem appreciative). 

To provide a little context, I am 22 years old and my boyfriend is 25. We have been together for a long time (8 years). I love him very much and desperately want to help him. Since my boyfriend suffers from anxiety, he has not been able to find a job for a while now (over 2 years). Now that we are in urgent financial need (I do not have a job since I had to quit due to my studies), he has no choice but to find a job. He knows this, however he continues to play video games for hours and hours. I feel disrespected -I have supported him financially (while being a full-time student!) for over 2 years and I feel like it is about time that he finds himself a job. Although he is searching and applying for jobs, he is doing so for less than 30 min each day, while playing video games well over 8 jours a day. I would like for him to treat his job search as a full time job, and apply for jobs for at least the same amount of time he dedicates to video games. I requested that he do this, and he agreed that it was reasonable. However, he did not follow through on this. I don't know what to do. Part of the reason why I decided to quit my job was that I was tired of enabling him -I wanted him to feel the pressure of having no choice but to find a job. In the past few weeks, I've noticed that his video game addiction is becoming worse. This worsening, I believe, is probably due to increased anxiety about his ability to find jobs; he is escaping reality through increased video game use. 

I feel powerless; like there is nothing I can do to help him. Although I am trying to be positive, I am finding it difficult since I feel that he needs to face his fears, and I am tired of seeing his potential go to waste. He is an intelligent person who I know will succeed in life if he stops or limits his gaming time. I myself, am a very ambitious person who is displined and driven by success. I would like for him to be the same way. I don't know what to do anymore, I know that I can't change him, but I really want to help him. What can I do? 



Polga's picture
Last seen: 2 min 36 sec ago
AdministratorOLG-Anon memberOLGA member
Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
Hi Stephanie

Hi Stephanie

It sounds like you are tuned in to why he is gaming; your conclusions about his anxiety sounds "right" to me. But it may be that his gaming for anxiety has progressed into a strong addiction that is now feeding itself. Addictions are not static...unaddressed they get worse over time. Like going down a black hole.

What you are experiencing about him not wanting to try to understand his addiction etc, is commonly experienced by loved ones. We cannot control their choices! He is hiding from reality and you want to take him out of his comfort zone.

There is a thread here that shares members experiences about trying to communicate with the addict about their addiction. It may help you, but sometime we cannot get through to them

You are enabling him; you are putting up with him gaming, while he is feeding you what he thinks you want to hear but not following through on his promises. He has to hit his rock bottom before he will do anything about it. You do not know where that point is. I know you have financial difficulties, but the likelyhood is that he will continue to game until you are kicked out of you home because you cannot pay the rent.

Read the thread about enabling; it may help you undertsand what you need to do.

Only he can do the recovery work. You can't. He needs to work it out for himself. All you can do is stop enabling and" detach with love"

Keep coming back and it may become clear what you need to do. Don't think that you can change him. You need to make plans assuming that he is not going to get better and not going to get a job. Take care of you.




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