Collecting items can become an addiction — and Pokémon Go certainly feeds into this problem. Pokémon has been an original Nintendo title since the Game Boy, and now it has hit the smartphone platform. The app is a huge phenomenon and has practically taken over social media and major news outlets. So what’s so groundbreaking about the game that has captured so many participants? Is there truly a Pokémon Go addiction?
Many people have turned to it out of nostalgia. They remember playing Pokémon Red or Pokémon Blue on the Game Boy. But Pokémon Go has captivated newer audiences as well. Everyone is doing it, and maybe there is some social pressure to try it. Of course, the game can also simply be enjoyed by everyone.
What Is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a mobile game that incorporates your real-world location and augments that reality. You use your smartphone’s GPS system and screen as a link between the two worlds. Like the other Pokémon games, Pokémon Go is all about exploring and capturing monsters. These monsters are then collected, and you can train them to fight and battle with your friends later.
How The Game Works
When you’re out walking, you use your phone’s screen to look for monsters. The game uses the camera for you to spot the creatures in the real world. This is how your phone connects the outdoors and the augmented reality that you see on your phone.
Pokémon Go Addiction
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”
There’s something about collecting these monsters that is addicting. In fact, collecting is a human impulse that has been thought of as an extension of the self. That extension now applies to the digital world, going beyond physical objects. This type of addiction can be harmful if the participant neglects his or her responsibilities to build a collection.
Compulsions On The Rise
Many people have admitted to some compulsion with this game. There are blog posts (mostly humorous), for example, talking about how people have become addicted to the game. An example is found in the comedic post titled, “The 7 stages of Pokémon Go Addiction.” The blog outlines seven stages, ranging from skepticism to boredom to eternal love of Pokémon Go replacing political and economic systems. While funny, the post does show how the game can be extremely addictive.
Can Collecting Monsters In Pokémon Go, Be Harmful?
In a post featured on CinemaBlend, the writer talks about how her addiction to Pokémon Go has benefited her life. Since the app released, she has exercised a lot more and is feeling the urge to get out and explore new territory. She also states how the mobile game encourages people to get together and socialize.
So is Pokémon Go harmful? There isn’t a clear answer to the question, but there should be awareness about the nature of any addictive game play.
Symptoms of addiction include a change in the person’s behavior in regards to what he or she is addicted to. In this case, does playing Pokémon Go bring out violent or impulsive behavior in the player? The game could result in this type of behavior, so it’s important to look for the warning signs.
Pokémon Go has risen to incredible popularity, and many people have benefited from the experience. But when a game gets so much attention and has such positive results, then it’s possible for an addiction to form. People have already felt compulsions towards the game, so it’s important to know how much this app can impact our lives.
If you or a loved one is suffering from process addiction, call us today.