Virtual Reality Addiction and Its Risks

Virtual Reality Addiction and Its Risks

Virtual Reality addiction is probably one of the newest addictive disorders to hit the health sector right now. As much as virtual reality technology is one of the biggest innovations right now, it does come with some problems. It turns out it can lead to addiction disorders in some which don’t do any favors for people with an addictive personality.

After all, nothing is perfect and we have to take the good with the bad here. Virtual reality environments are great, they put us in a real-time immersive world where we can actually be in the game. It’s great, but it turns out this is bringing mental health disorders to light that didn’t even exist 20 to 30 years ago.

Let’s dive in and breakdown this new issue the world is facing.

Virtual Reality Studies and Addictive Behavior

VR gaming addiction is classified as a behavioral addiction. As with all addictions, use of the substance/thing continues despite negative repercussions.

What distinguishes an addiction from a non-harmful activity or interest are evidence that a person’s quality of life is now suffering as a result of their involvement and use of the substance/thing. The following are some of the addictive behavior characteristics that you may feel or notice in someone with an online gaming addiction from VR:

  • Ignores any troubles that have emerged as a result of video games by failing to accomplish necessary tasks or obligations.
  • No desire to interact “offline” or “face-to-face” with relatives or friends.
  • When you are unable to join in an online activity, you experience intense irritation.

Risky Business

According to a study conducted by the Higher Colleges of Technology, the effects of VR addiction can affect both children and adults. According to the findings of the study, the significant effect of VR for lengthy periods of time is the likelihood of brain injury. The individual using virtual reality will not be able to tell the difference between real life and a virtual environment.

When it comes to physical pain, the majority of the polled gamers claimed neck issues, since they would stay in one position for extended periods.

Many people are affected by a condition known as “VR Sickness.” The gaming community has coined this word to describe the symptoms that occur when a person’s system is overloaded with virtual reality games.

“The negative effects of VR gaming addiction are similar to those of any other media addiction.” Playing VR games for hours, like any other media addiction, can lead to major mental diseases such as melancholy, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and, in many cases, autism spectrum traits and features, obesity, sleep issues, and increased aggression.” M. Romano (2013)

VR Sickness Joined The Game

Why does VR sickness occur? Because of the nature of virtual reality. Our eyes tell us that we are moving in the virtual world, but our bodies aren’t on the same page. This communication mishap is where the problem starts.

This sort of physiological response is why some may be more susceptible to VR sickness. It’s basically our eyes lying to our brain, but our body is calling them out. Think sea sickness, but induced with a VR headset.

Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Disorientation
  • Motion-sickness symptoms

The unfortunate reality here is that many with addiction disorders, especially with an online gaming addiction are more at risk to VR sickness. It turns out that for some, putting on an oculus rift may be the same as a cue-induced smoking craving. This is sure to be a challenge for healthcare professionals in the future since the world is leaning more toward this tech day by day.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Internet Gaming Disorder

So, we’ve discovered that VR has grown in popularity over the last ten years. Since then, it has continued to grow at a rate that sometimes even technology cannot keep up with. We also understand the consequences for a person’s emotional and physical health. So, what are the VR gaming addiction treatment options? Is it possible to get therapy for a VR gaming addiction?

Therapy for this addiction will be difficult because treatment for behavioral addictions is notoriously difficult. Professionals have observed that coming to terms with the thought of overcoming an addiction that society considers “appropriate” can be difficult. You must contend with the problem of being persuaded to continue using by the world around you.

Say No to Virtual Cigarettes

Substance use disorders are a terrible thing and are a problem in society up until today. Unfortunately, VR is joining that list with adults with internet gaming, slowly gaining clinical relevance now. If you don’t want to develop this problem, it’s best you use VR in a healthy control, and moderate your time.

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