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How Can Video Games Be Addictive?

How Can Video Games Be Addictive? 

Research found that nearly 97% of Americans aged 12-17 report playing video games. Video games on the surface appear to be a fun, harmless form of entertainment. However, many people do not realize how addicting video games can be. Video games trigger your brain’s reward system while offering you seemingly endless game content. These are just a couple of the many reasons on how can video games be addictive. Keep reading to learn more about why video games are so addictive.

At CTRLCare, we are a mental health treatment center in New Jersey that helps teens and young adults struggling with problematic technology use or mental illness. We offer a wide range of treatment options for mental health and problematic technology use so patients can receive the exact care they need for their recovery journey.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you on your road to recovery. 

7 Reasons Why Video Games Are Addictive 

Triggers the Brain’s Reward System

Video games are a fun pastime that many people play. So, you may be wondering “How can video games be addictive”. The first way is through altering your brain chemistry. Research suggests that playing video games triggers dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a specific brain chemical responsible for your sense of motivation and satisfaction. Therefore, as you are playing video games, your brain experiences a heightened amount of dopamine which makes you feel good and satisfied. However, unfortunately, this can make video games addicting. 

New Achievements, Motivation, and Goals

Similar to the above point on heightened dopamine levels, in video games, players are constantly motivated to continue playing to achieve new goals and milestones within the game. Whether that’s getting to the next level, or winning a new badge, many video games are set up in an addicting manner to encourage the player to keep playing to move on to the next level.


Video games also offer a sense of escapism. In other words, if you are struggling with a stressful situation or procrastinating, video games offer a very easy way to escape your daily stressors and life responsibilities. While playing video games for 15-30 minutes a day is not much cause for concern, if you find you are playing hours of video games per day, and do so to procrastinate and avoid stressors in your life, you may be addicted to video games. 

Easy Accessibility

Next, video games are easily accessible and affordable. This makes video game playing easy and cheap to keep playing over and over again. This is because besides the initial upfront cost for the game itself and your gaming console, most video games you can then play over and over again, making them super affordable. 

Fear of Missing Out

Many video games consist of different levels and storylines that can entice players to want to continue playing the game more and more, even if that means playing unhealthy amounts of the game. This is because many games offer limited-time offers, rewards, and prizes which can encourage players to continue playing the game in the hope of winning these limited-time rewards. 

Nearly Endless Game Planning

Many video games today also offer virtually endless gaming content. This makes video games highly addictive as some players may want to continue playing to get to the next storyline, level, reward, etc., making it more difficult to stop playing the video game.

Competition and Comparison

Some video games have leaderboards or other ranking systems which can make many players want to continue playing the game to beat out the competition and top the leaderboard. This sense of competition and comparison among other players can be highly addictive and cause many to play video games for hours on end, despite negatively impacting their physical and mental health and well-being. 

Leading Mental Health Treatment in New Jersey

Now you know more about how can video games be addictive. Millions of people play video games. Although not everyone who plays video games has a video game addiction, there are many people who have a video game problem. Video game addiction can significantly harm your physical and mental health and well-being, as well as negatively impact your relationships with others. If you are struggling with a video game addiction, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

CTRLCare offers a range of evidence-based mental health treatment options to help teens and young adults struggling with problematic technology use or mental illness. Our team of compassionate mental health professionals is here to help you every step of the way on your road to recovery.

Contact us today to learn how you can regain control over your life. 

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Focused on evidence-based therapies and integrated wellness programs, the unique, hybrid approach at CTRLCare Behavioral Health is designed to meet the needs and goals of the individual. For personalized treatment that addresses the mind, body, and spirit, contact CTRLCare Behavioral Health today.