So thrilled to be on Dr. Alan Christianson’s “Reset Me with Dr. C”, discussing video games and adrenal fatigue (Listen here, just 16 minutes, on iTunes.). I’ve known Alan since 2014 and he’s an amazing doc who is possibly the nicest person on the planet. He has a great podcast on adrenal fatigue and he invited me to give a podcast on the connection between video games and adrenal fatigue. Yes, there is a connection, particularly for the 35+ female crowd that plays a lot of the casual games like candy crush, diner dash, etc.
Please listen to the Podcast and post feedback here in the comments section, I’ll read all the comments. It will mean a lot to me if you download this podcast, it will help with the iTunes ratings.
Here’s a brief summary of the podcast: I draw the connection between video games and adrenal fatigue, something that may not seem obvious at first, but definitely does exist. At first you may not think any such connection exists, especially for females over the age of 35 who are hardly the under 18 year old males we stereotypically think of as hardcore gamers. However, in the podcast I cover the shocking statistics of video game among women, a rapidly growing contingent of gamers. According to the Entertainment Software Association 2015 statistics on video games (http://goo.gl/CvG7aX), Women over the age of 18 represent 33% of the video game playing market, which is more than double the number of male gamers under the age of 18, which is only 18%.
The main difference between older female gamers and teenage male gamers is genre: Male gamers usually play the online violent games like Diablo, Warcraft, Call of Duty, etc. However, older female gamers usually play the casual genre: Candy Crush, Diner Dash, etc. Women over 50, even my own mother, have gotten caught up in Boggle, Scrabble, or other similar games. My mother (an MD herself) told me she got caught up in playing lots of these types of game.
So how do video games trigger the adrenal response, stressing out the hormone system? There are two main mechanisms:
- Video games are designed to be thrilling, engaging, and exciting, all which trigger a stress response, particularly if you ‘lose’ or are at risk of ‘losing’ something in the video game.
- Video games trigger an eye reflex that is hardwired to trigger the stress response. The scrabble word for this reflex is called the “tectospinal reflex”. Essentially any time there is a rapid change in color, brightness, or motion, your eye will quickly target to whatever just rapidly changed. Think of a police light: Haven’t you noticed your eye automatically targets the police lights? They are rapidly changing color (red-blue), motion (spinning), and brightness (spinning away and then towards you). Video games trigger the same reflex, forcing your eye to target to the screen almost repeatedly with novel visual stimuli.
So what to do?
- First, acknowledge if there is a problem with overusing video games. Please refer to my post on on the 3 definitive signs it’s time to play fewer video games.
- Protect your sleep: Remove all gaming electronics from the bedroom.
- Get the program F.lux (https://justgetflux.com/) to install on your computer to reduce the amount of blue light to protect your circadian rhythms so you sleep better.
- Buy my Guidebook “7 Ways to Game Less: How to unplug and live more” to reduce gaming disorder on, just click on the image below.
Hope you enjoy the podcast (listen to it here) and please post your comments below.
About the author:
Dr. Shay overcame his 25+ year video game addiction. He now helps others overcome their video game addictions naturally, both in his clinic in New Zealand as a doctor of chiropractic, acupuncturist, and functional neurologist, as well as coaching worldwide via Skype. Learn more about his story in this video below:
Dr. Shay is also the author the ebook: “7 Ways to Game Less: How to Unplug and Live More”
[Comment section: Suggestions are welcome to for alternatives to video games that accomplish some or all of the 5 ways video games are used as parenting tools for behavior and time management].