Fantasy Worlds, Real Worries: Rise of Fantasy Gaming Raises Mental Health Concerns as per latest Psychiatrist report

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In the recent times, Fantasy gaming has exploded into a global phenomenon, captivating millions with its immersive worlds and endless possibilities. But beneath the thrill of slaying monsters and conquering quests, a hidden concern lurks: can fantasy games be addictive?

A recent report in the Psychiatrist Journal delves into this complex issue, exploring the addictive nature of fantasy games beyond the quest for skill mastery. The report delves into the fascinating charisma of fantasy games, which not only offer immersive escapes but also contribute to the rise of gaming-related disorders.

Lately, there has been a surge in sports fantasy games, particularly among male students aged 16–19 in India. The fantasy sports user base data from 2021 show approximately 130 million registered users. The introduction of cricket played a pivotal role in this growth, tapping into the deep-rooted passion for the game.

The article features a case report of a 20-year-old man, who accrued a significant debt from online fantasy gaming, leading to disrupted sleep, appetite issues, and isolation. His story sheds light on the potential consequences of addictive gaming behavior, impacting job, social life, and family relationships.

The transformation of gaming from a recreational activity to a legitimate career option gave rise to fantasy gaming. In India, fantasy games require approval from the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports and are legally accepted as skilled games. This has led to the emergence of professional gamers, live streaming platforms, and e-sport tournaments, providing opportunities for talented individuals to showcase their skills and earn a living through gaming.

Triggers such as different rewards for these fantasy games are designed to achieve reinforcement contributing to excessive gaming and addictive tendencies. Social interaction within online communities adds a layer of belongingness and companionship, making it challenging for individuals to disengage.

However, there is a potential downside of excessive fantasy gaming, including social isolation, financial strain, and even neglecting real-world responsibilities. In severe cases, it can lead to clinical addiction, impacting mental health and well-being. To address these concerns, the report calls for regulatory authorities to strike a balance between consumer protection and a healthy gaming ecosystem.