A child in Rajasthan’s Alwar has reportedly been sent to a special school after he recently suffered severe tremors and lost his mental balance on playing games like PUBG and Free Fire in which he happened to lose online. As per a report by ANI, Special Teacher Bhavani Sharma said, “A child has come to our special school. As per our assessment and the statements of his relatives, he is a victim of games like Free Fire. The child lost in the game. The game is such that if a player loses, they are unable to tolerate it – they either die by suicide or lose their mental balance. This child too has lost his mental balance…We have prepared a format of sports activities for the child and as per that we have to help the child win all of them so that he overcomes the fear of loss and remembers his victory.”
Gaming addiction, also known as gaming disorder or video game addiction, refers to the excessive and compulsive use of video games that interferes with a person’s daily life, work, education or relationships. It is characterised by a loss of control over gaming habits, prioritising gaming over other responsibilities and experiencing negative consequences as a result of excessive gaming where is typically identified by the presence of several symptoms including preoccupation with gaming, withdrawal symptoms when not playing, loss of interest in other activities, unsuccessful attempts to cut back or quit gaming, continued excessive gaming despite negative consequences and jeopardising relationships or responsibilities due to gaming.
According to health experts, gaming addiction can be influenced by various factors such as psychological, social and environmental elements while some common contributing factors include the immersive and rewarding nature of games, social interactions within gaming communities, escapism from real-life problems, underlying mental health issues and a lack of alternative fulfilling activities. However, excessive gaming can have significant negative effects on various aspects of a person’s life as it may lead to academic or occupational problems, neglect of personal hygiene and health, strained relationships with family and friends, social isolation, sleep disturbances and decreased physical activity.
In severe cases, it can contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. In case of the Alwar child, experiencing severe tremors or physical symptoms after losing online games is a rare occurrence and would require a medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause but with this case study and previous researches, it is now clear that losing in online games can elicit a range of emotional reactions including frustration, anger, disappointment and stress.
While it is normal to experience these emotions to some extent, severe physical symptoms like tremors are less common and could be indicative of an underlying issue. Highly competitive gaming environments, combined with the pressure to win or perform well, can lead to increased stress and anxiety levels and in some cases, this excessive stress may trigger physical symptoms including trembling or shaking.
People may have different physiological responses to stress and anxiety where some individuals may be more prone to physical manifestations of stress, while others may experience primarily emotional or cognitive effects and the severity and type of physical symptoms can vary from person to person. Psychosomatic symptoms refer to physical symptoms that are influenced by psychological factors where in some instances, the emotional distress associated with losing a game may manifest as physical symptoms such as tremors and these symptoms are real and can significantly impact an individual’s well-being.
Gaming addiction is a recognised mental health condition and seeking professional help is crucial. According to experts, treatment approaches may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), individual or group counselling, family therapy, support groups and in some cases, medication to manage underlying mental health issues hence, it is important to develop healthier coping mechanisms, set boundaries and reintroduce balance into one’s life.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder and Senior Psychiatrist at Manasthali, advised, “Parents need to build a positive and family environment at their home so that the child doesn’t get the urge of the virtual world. Parents should also take part in their social media usage by learning about the programs/apps, their child is using. Ask the child to teach you about the nuances of these platforms. Parents need to show interest in such activities and ask questions.”
In order to monitor your children’s online activities, Dr Jyoti Kapoor suggested, “Ensure that the tablets and computers are placed in common areas where you can watch while your child uses them. Keep a tab on your child’s online accounts. It might irk them initially but make them understand that monitoring their online activity would help keep them to stay protected from cyber bullying but be attentive as some children or teens may create a fake second account for their parents to follow. You can ask them in a friendly gesture about the people they are friends with online. Showing genuine interest will help them feel comfortable talking about it. Explain that it’s easy for someone on the Internet to pretend to be someone they’re not.”
She added, “Talk about the importance of keeping online friendships in the online world. Make it clear that if your child wants to meet an online friend in person, it must be in a public place and with a trusted adult. Talk in detail about what’s okay and safe to post online and what isn’t. People do not always have control over what others post about them. Explain how information and photos found on the internet can resurface years later. Explain how auto-correct can sometimes result in misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Some teenagers may use dating websites to find dates or sexual partners. Discuss the importance of having healthy and safe relationships with them.”
To prevent or manage gaming addiction, individuals can take proactive steps, such as:
- Setting limits on gaming time and establishing a healthy gaming routine.
- Engaging in alternative activities like sports, hobbies, or socialising offline.
- Creating a supportive network of friends and family who encourage moderation.
- Monitoring and controlling access to gaming devices and content.
- Being aware of the signs of addiction and seeking help promptly.
Remember, enjoying video games in moderation can be a fun and engaging form of entertainment however, if gaming starts to dominate your life and negatively affect your well-being, it is essential to seek help and make necessary changes to regain control. If someone experiences severe physical symptoms such as tremors, after losing online games, it is important to consult a medical professional for a thorough evaluation as they can help determine whether the symptoms are primarily stress-related or if there may be other underlying health conditions that need to be addressed.
It is essential to maintain a healthy balance between gaming and other aspects of life, including physical activity, social interactions and adequate rest so, if you or someone you know is struggling with the emotional or physical effects of gaming, it is advisable to seek professional help from a healthcare provider or a mental health professional who specialises in gaming-related issues.
Courtesy – www.hindustantimes.com