Most people assume that addiction refers only to substances such as drugs and alcohol, but the truth is that it is a pattern of behaviour that causes negative problems in the life of the individual. This means that anything can potentially cause addiction, and it is not just substances that lead to this illness. In fact, many people are struggling with various compulsive behaviours including shopping, sex, and gambling; and there are now a growing number of individuals who are being affected by gaming addiction.
The advent of online gaming has led to many individuals developing crippling addictions that are taking over their lives. These have a negative impact on not only themselves but also the people they love. Snooker player, Neil Robertson is one of them.
Can Gaming Become an Addiction?
Neil Robertson has opened up about the gaming addiction that has affected his ability to play snooker and has also had an impact on his personal life. The Australian, who won the world championship in 2010, admitted to becoming addicted to online gaming and has revealed that online gaming became more important to him than snooker at one stage, threatening to destroy his career.
Although Neil is a big name in the world of snooker, having won the Masters title in 2012 and the 2013 and 2015 UK Championship, he admits that his obsession with online gaming has affected his form in recent times. He said he had to go ‘cold turkey’ to help get his life back on track.
He said, “I’ve had really good application in my practice after dragging myself away from playing too many video games. I’m two months sober if you like from playing them. My friend said to me: ‘you don’t get to choose the crack you are addicted to’. And the multi-play online ones I can’t touch because I just get too hooked on them. One of the games, World of Warcraft, is an MMO (massively multiplayer online) role-playing game.”
He went on to say, “I was part of a raid team, and we played a few nights a week. When we got out to China for a tournament, I was trying to make the raid slot. When I got out there, the connection was so bad that I couldn’t get access. I was furious for four or five days. All I was thinking about was getting back home for a connection from China. I lost my spot on the team, and all of a sudden that became more important than the snooker, which is absolutely crazy.”
How to Recognise the Signs of Addiction
Neil admits that he realised he was in trouble when he began staying up all night to play online games instead of worrying about practicing snooker the following day. He knows that his snooker form has been affected by his gaming addiction, and his results in recent tournaments have been disappointing by his own standards.
He has also revealed that his gaming addiction has been something that has left his partner Mille unimpressed with. He said, “Those kind of games are designed to take over your life really. You find yourself sitting in front of the computer screen for six, seven or eight hours straight. Which is obviously not healthy. It is a bit like Football Manager, but probably worse. The referee Brendan Moore jokes that he knows a few people who have got divorced over that game.”
Neil added, “I’ve been playing some video games, and end up playing it through the night. One of them was League of Legends, which is the most consuming game of all time. Many people agree with that. In fact, my partner Mille was talking to one of the designers of the game. She met him in Cambridge, and he said they are trying to make more games that don’t ruin people’s lives.”
He added, “In the past, I’ve been staying up and playing it. Then all of a sudden, it is 6am, the birds are tweeting, and I’m thinking: ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to get up in a couple of hours to take my son Alexander to school. Then I’ve got to practice. Mille absolutely hates it. League of Legends is banned in my house. And rightly so. It is just awful. If you are a single guy and work in a normal job, you can get around it. But you can’t win professional snooker matches when you are tired.”
He admits that he is not the only snooker player to struggle with a gaming addiction, saying that Ding Junhui from China is also a recovering gaming addict. He said, “Ding used to be hooked on League of Legends too. We used to talk about it. I think it is one of the reasons he had a poor season two or three years ago. We were both playing it non-stop, both glued to our laptops playing League of Legends.”
Can You Get Help for a Gaming Addiction?
Gaming addiction is much more common than many people realise. However, the good news is that treatment is available. Here at UKAT, our clinics specialise in providing top quality treatment programmes for all types of addiction, including gaming addiction.
If online gaming consumes you, contact us now for information and advice on how you can beat this addiction.
Source: (Eurosport) Neil Robertson: I’m a recovering addict, video games seriously damaged my snooker