Video gaming withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms Recovery fellowship
The Voice of Addiction Learning from relapse

We gaming addicts who have abstained completely suffered some withdrawal symptoms. These are different for different people. Nevertheless, many of us have found that we had many symptoms in common. For some people there seems to be a kind of “detox” period of 3-4 days where the symptoms are most severe. Withdrawal symptoms may last several weeks or months. With abstinence from gaming and working a program of recovery, the symptoms fade over time.

Here are some that are common:

  • A feeling of emptiness, sadness, and/or loneliness
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation/direction; life seems flat
  • Lack of interest in most of life’s activities, whether work or play
  • Difficulty with focus, concentration and completing complex tasks
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Desperate attempts to rationalize a return to gaming
  • Anxiety
  • Uncontrollable or variable feelings and mood swings
  • Difficulty with social interactions and facing obligations
  • Sleep changes: much more sleep or sleeplessness
  • Feeling intensely drawn to other electronic entertainment
  • Obsessive thoughts about in-game friends
  • Fantasies and dreams about the game, or about being in the game
  • Restless, unfulfilling, taunting dreams
  • Crying
  • Headaches
  • Impatience and angry outbursts
  • Nausea

Many people can think and function better after being off games for some months. The bottom line here is that it takes time for the brain to recover from what excessive game play, chronic sleep deprivation, and social isolation do to it.