What happens when you get into gaming night after night

The brain

You set up the game and begin. The first game points later, and your brain’s reward circuit is instantly fed. You don’t know when the next reward is coming, so you expectantly play on; the pleasure-seeking circuitry is turned on. You’re rewarded again, and it’s like a key is fit into your brain’s emotional functional circuitry to unlock the elation. Soon, you know you’re tired, but after a loss, you feel you must continue, to get back that ‘high’. You play on and the beginnings of a behavioural addiction set in.

The eyes

Your eyes are so focussed on the game, converging at a point for long durations, you don’t realise you’re blinking 60% less than required. Dry spots form in the eyes, cause irritation and watering. You’ve heard about digital eye strain, but you game on.

The digestive system

Your brain needs food, but can’t be bothered to get a plate of food. You order in French fries — they’re soft, easy to handle and barely need chewing. Under stress, digestion slows down, and you realise you’re uncomfortable. You haven’t moved in three hours.

Your liver

Insulin levels are yo-yoing with the stress of the game and junk food consumption. Over many months, your body is not able to process the insulin properly and it develops a resistance to it.

Your gut

Stress, no movement, hormones going out of whack all lead your gut to malfunction. Nutrient absorption goes down. In fact, the protective mechanism that prevents toxic minerals from entering our system goes for a toss, causing leaky gut. This means aluminium, barium, mercury, arsenic all sit in your system.

Your legs

Cramped in the same position hour upon hour, day after day, with no movement causes the legs to get painful and swell. Inside, blood clots in the veins, causing a condition called deep vein thrombosis.

Your wrists and hands

Your button-punching fingers are doing the same repetitive movements. You feel a mild burning sensation in the soft tissue between thumb and forefinger. This soon progresses to inflammation, tightness and numbness — carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, the pain extends upwards, to your elbows. You choose to ignore it, icing it sometimes or taking short breaks, but the more you play, the worse it gets.

Experts: Dr Aleem Siddiqui, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Lucknow Medical College and Hospital; Manjari Chandra, Senior Consultant Nutritionist, Max Healthcare, Functional Medicine Consultant: Intelligent Ageing; Dr Sanjay Dhawan, Director – Ophthalmology, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:00:21 AM |

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