Oftentimes, we can act unreasonably paying too much attention to certain things. We are so passionate about something that this activity becomes harmful to us. Even if it distracts us from something important, we continue doing it regardless of the consequences. This is an addiction. We get used to the fact that people become addicted to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes. However, in fact, obsession can cover a lot of harmless and even healthy activities. The examples are computer games and sports.
Very frequently people are interested too much in extreme sports, for example, snowboarding, and online multiplayer games. This article will cover the reasons and symptoms of this kind of fixation. Keep reading and you will find out the possible solutions to this problem.
Extreme Sports Addicts
In some cases, being energetic, spending time in the open air is not that healthy. Extreme sports in general and winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, in particular, can become a real disaster for the sportsmen. It is estimated that 42% of people participating in sports are at risk of being addicted. This sort of obsession belongs to behavioral addictions. Let us find out the reasons for this unhealthy behavior.
There is a popular opinion that snowboarding addicts become ones due to the adrenaline rush. They love danger and risk. This is partially true. There are many factors which cause sports addiction. It is a complex disorder. The obsession depends on genetic factors and physiological processes. The psychological state also plays a major role in this case.
What happens to your body when you hit the slopes? You put yourself in dangerous conditions and your body reacts to that by releasing adrenaline, the stress hormone in the adrenaline glands. They are located on the kidneys. This feature is vital from the evolutionary perspective. This hormone functions in the following way:
- It increases the heartbeat and thus the bloodstream.
- It mobilizes your muscles and they become stronger.
- It suppresses pain receptors. You may not even notice a heavy wound. The pain comes after the decay of the effect.
- It mobilizes the nervous system. It sharpens your reactions and senses.
All in all, it makes you faster, stronger and ready to fight. And this is vital when you do extreme sports. Snowboarders dodge trees, dips, and other obstacles faster.
After you overcome danger, your brain releases dopamine (the reward system). It is responsible for pleasure and relaxation and named a “happiness hormone”. And it actually causes addiction. Eventually, your dopamine receptors lower their response and you need bigger hormone doses to feel the same level of satisfaction.
The genetic factor which contributes to snowboarding addiction is also connected with dopamine. There is a DRD4 gene which is responsible for the dopamine receptors development. People, who enjoy extreme sports and love taking risks, have a similar combination of 7 DRD4 repeats. The mutation caused lower receptors affinity. This caused a situation when the person has to feel very strong emotions to be happy. On the other hand, people with 4 repeats do not have such problems. Genetics matter in 60% of extreme sports obsession cases.
State of mind matters and, generally, negative experience causes addiction. Divorce, unanswered love, sexual failures, jobbed stress, death in the family and other devastating events can trigger the obsession. The person seeks salvation in risk tries to escape from ruined life doing sports. They put themselves in danger because they no longer feel valuable and lost the sense of life. As the rule, such people hide their pain and behave like introverts or belong to this type of personality. They are occupied with their hobby and nothing else matters to them.
However, when you think someone is addicted to extreme sports, this person does not have to be broken inside. This factor only contributes to the obsession but is not the ultimate.
Symptoms of Unhealthy Behavior
We shall provide a list of symptoms that indicate unhealthy behavior:
- You need higher mountains, stiffer slopes, even if you can easily die on snow. Your closest people and friends try to stop you, but you do not listen to them.
- You believe snowboarding is a part of you. You think there is no self-fulfillment for you without it.
- You spend too much money on the equipment. It ruins your family budget, but you cannot stop doing it.
- You feel completely downhearted when you cannot visit a snow resort.
- Nothing interests you more than boarding.
If you answered yes to more than 1 paragraph, you are at risk. If you recognized yourself in 3 cases of 5, you already have the addiction.
Online Snowboarding Obsession
Some people prefer doing sports virtually, playing sports-themed computer games. Snowboarding is represented in many titles such as Steep, Snow, Shaun White snowboarding and others. Computer games addiction is as common as any other one. Teenagers, males are especially at risk. The studies revealed that online multiplayer causes obsession more frequently in comparison to single-player titles and platforms with a finite plot. An open-world digital environment also makes people stay in the game longer and return more frequently.
Does this disorder have similar traits in comparison to extreme sports addiction? Let us discover what causes it.
The reasons include:
- Psychological. Again, psychological traumas contribute to addiction. Teenagers may spend much time playing MMORPGs because of bullying in real life. Other factors might include the inability to socialize, start a relationship. In some cases, leveling up might be compensation to low self-esteem.
- Physiological caused by game design. Game developers incorporate several techniques to reward players. These include a level system, in-game currency, and bonuses. When you level up your character, it increases health/speed/damage etc. When your team won a session, you get more coins and experience points. These features create a compulsion loop. It makes an individual spend more time in the game due to dopamine release. This is the brain reward system we mentioned above. This experience influences similarly to drugs, lowering the dopamine receptors affinity.
- You are too busy with games. You build your daily schedule in such a way as to play more.
- A typical withdrawal syndrome when you feel angry, nervous, irritable and depressed when you cannot be in the game.
- You sacrifice your sleep, eating, spending time outdoors.
- You realize you should stop devoting yourself to gaming, but you cannot do it.
- Your career or academic progress suffers. You cannot deliver work on time or you skip classes in the university/ school.
- You prefer communicating with your teammates rather than real friends or family.
- You need more titles and you constantly upgrade your computer to try the newest ones.
Solutions to Overcome Extreme Sports and Online Games Fixation
Here are some techniques to recover the gaming and extreme sports obsession:
- Family therapy. The overall support can help while experiencing withdrawal syndrome. The key thing is to show love and patience towards the obsessed person.
- Medications. Sedatives can help with depression, stress, anxiety, and anger.
- Hospitalization in some severe cases of computer games addiction.
- Cognitive behavior therapy. Working with therapists can bring rapid results. You should realize the negative influence of your compulsive behavior. Specialists can help you find other ways of being happy.
- Support communities. There are organizations which provide 24/7 support and group treatment.
You should remember this problem cannot be solved without your engagement. You should understand you are responsible for your recovery as well. You should channel all your efforts to gather all your will.