Candy Crush, a free puzzle adventure game originally released in 2012, has amassed hundreds of millions of active users every month. The vivid, colorful, insanely appealing game is available on Android and iOS smartphones as well as on Microsoft Windows, Tizen, and Fire OS. When Candy Crush was originally released and promoted via the world’s largest social network, Facebook, it immediately caught on, appealing to more than millions of people worldwide who completed first-time installs.
Unfortunately, similarly to other highly engaging, motivating, and addictive games, Candy Crush became notorious for cultivating and promoting addictive video game-related behaviors. Whether you have battled addiction in the past and required help with an alcohol treatment program or if you know someone who has struggled with addiction, you likely understand just how serious addictive behavior can be, especially when left unfettered and unmonitored over a period of time.
When you have an understanding of what qualifies an addiction, you can better understand why some individuals have become addicted to seemingly innocent games such as Candy Crush.
What Is a Video Game Addiction?
Video game addiction is nothing to take lightly, especially in an era where video games are becoming increasingly popular among all age ranges, including adults and the elderly. While video gaming can provide plenty of benefits such as cognitive improvement, memory challenges, and socialization, there is such a thing as playing too much.
According to experts, video game addiction occurs when an individual begins to prioritize video gaming over daily responsibilities, activities, and even close and meaningful relationships. In severe cases, job losses, divorces, and bankruptcies have occurred due to unchecked and untreated video gaming habits.
As with other addictions, video game addiction does not often begin immediately. It may take some time for a player to make a habit out of checking or playing a game regularly. Over time, enjoyment, satisfaction, and the dopamine rush a user receives each time they open and play their preferred game may ultimately become more important than other activities happening in their actual, real-world lives.
What Causes or Leads to Video Game Addiction?
In order to address and successfully treat video game addiction, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the lead causes and triggers of video game addiction itself. Some of the most well-known and documented causes of video game addiction include:
- A desire to escape reality if external pressures and stressors feel too difficult to handle in everyday life and players want to avoid coping with emotional or relationship issues
- Losses of job, relationship, child, home, or business
- Trauma (physical, emotional, sexual)
- Antisocial personality disorders and other anxiety-related disorders
- Feelings of insecurity and inadequacy
Signs and Symptoms of Video Game Addiction
Understanding the most common signs and symptoms of video game addiction among individuals can help you to better identify them in yourself if you believe you are addicted to gaming or a game such as Candy Crush.
Physical Signs and Symptoms
While it may not be obvious that video game addiction has the power to create physical signs and symptoms, it shares characteristics with other forms of addiction. The most common physical signs that could occur in those who are struggling with video game addiction include:
- Increased fatigue, especially if an individual isn’t getting enough sleep or refuses to sleep in order to play their preferred game(s)
- Increased muscle and joint pain among those who are not exercising enough or those who are sitting in one position for hours at a time to play a game
- Poor personal hygiene or fewer regular baths and showers due to a preoccupation with video games
- Eye strain from staring at screens and devices for long periods of time without proper breaks
- Migraines and increases in headaches due to staring at screens and technology too much
- Carpal tunnel syndrome that could develop after years of overusing devices such as a computer mouse, keyboard, or gaming console controller
Mental and Emotional Signs of Video Game Addiction
Other emotional and mental signs of video game addiction that could occur when the addiction is not identified and treated include:
- Increased feelings of loneliness as well as isolation
- Increased agitation, irritation, and anxiety
- Intensified feelings of sadness and depression
- Loss of focus on work, hobbies, physical activity, and relationships
- A lack of social interaction with family members, coworkers, and friends
- Insomnia and increased neurotic tendencies
- Covering up and lying about the amount of time spent playing video games
- A preoccupation with playing video games at all times
Why Is Candy Crush Addictive to Some Users?
Although Candy Crush may not offer the most advanced graphics or technological features and developments, it’s considered to be prominent and highly addictive among all age groups and demographics for a number of reasons.
The game itself is extremely accessible. Candy Crush is free to play and players can use computer desktops, laptops, tablet devices, and even Android and iOS smartphones to access it. Learning the rules and guidelines of Candy Crush requires only a few minutes, making it even easier for individuals to jump right into the game immediately.
Candy Crush overall aesthetic is extremely colorful, vibrant, and inviting. It uses fresh fruits and celebratory animations to cheer users on with each and every round they complete. It also provides users with in-game rewards as well as coins that can be earned or purchased (with a credit card) directly from the game itself.
These rewards can make the game enticing. If you’re becoming involved with Candy Crush or another new game, it’s important to set limits and know your own personal boundaries to avoid developing unhealthy addictions and behavioral patterns that can be very difficult to break.
Playing games to have fun, relax a little, and decompress from everyday pressures is typically healthy and a way to relieve stress without overspending or indulging in particularly dangerous or risky behavior. At the same time, it’s important to ensure your gaming habits don’t disrupt your everyday life, relationships, and responsibilities.
If you notice that you’re spending more time playing games such as Candy Crush than usual, or that your playing is interfering with your life, it may be time to take a step back to reflect on what you value in your life, your future, and the lives and futures of your loved ones.