How to Beat League of Legends Addiction
Riot Games’ League of Legends is the most played game in the world with over 100 million monthly players. Understandably, many people around the world suffer with addiction to this game and struggle to quit or cut down. In this article, we are going to break down the best ways to beat League of Legends addiction once and for all.
Why Is League of Legends so Addictive?
The League of Legends community is quite aware of the game’s addictive nature to the point where it’s become a meme. However, behind the guise of memes and jokes there are many gamers out there who would like to quit but just don’t know how. Let’s take a look at some of the main addictive qualities that keep players hooked and see if some of these relate to you.
As well as being one of the most played games in the world it is also one of the highest-grossing games in Esports, with tens of millions of dollars up for grabs in prize pools across major tournaments every year. This is obviously a testament to how good League of Legends serves as a competitive game.
Gamers who love the competitive environment are drawn into the League of Legends ranked mode and spend countless hours trying to win games for LP in order to climb the ladder. Ultimately the concept of practising skills in order to test them against an opponent and be the best is the rush that players get addicted to.
Winning games and climbing the ladder gives players end of season rewards. The higher the rank the better the reward, just one more reason for players to be invested.
As many who play the game might understand, there is a sense of pride and accomplishment in being a high rank. This incentivises lower-ranked players to play more and aspire to be better at the game. This principle plays on our human desire to overcome difficult tasks and long term goals. In society, we revere great leaders, athletes and entertainers for achieving such things because we recognise how difficult it was for them to do it against the odds.
Likewise, the investment of time and sacrifice to become great at the game is brandished by a shiny new border in the loading screen for all to see. There are numerous addictive components to the game itself like the increasing number of champions to master, but those who spend ridiculous hours in the game are mainly driven by ranked mode and competition.
League of Legends is a team game and in order for you to succeed great teamwork is required. So many gamers rush home from school or work to team up with their best duo partner and hit up ranked.
This can be a social experience filled with good times and laughter or crushing defeats and arguments. Nonetheless, the community and sense of belonging, bring people from all over together in discord servers or team chat’s to play a game they all love, together.
However, when a person is addicted to League of Legends they spend the vast majority of their time on the game, with little time for any other form of social activity or enjoyment and this can lead to problems that we will discuss later.
The sad truth of video games is that in many cases they are used to escape situations such as bullying, trauma or negative thoughts. It is beneficial to relieve stress and get away from these emotions from time to time but running from them through video games is not a healthy solution.
Games such as League of Legends that require such a heightened level of focus do a great job of immersing the player and taking their mind away from anything else that they might be experiencing. Having to control and fight multiple characters on screen while constantly checking the minimap to stay in tune with the rest of your team’s calls is a very mentally demanding job. For this reason, there has been a link between video game addiction and those with underlying mental health conditions such as OCD, depression and even autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Negative effects of League of Legends Addiction
For those who are seeking help already, some of the negative effects of video game addiction might be apparent by now. But it is important to understand how our minds and bodies can react in the face of this behavioural addiction.
Neglecting Other Hobbies and Responsibilities
A major symptom of video game addiction and something that many people complain about on Reddit when trying to quit or cut down is their lack of interest in other hobbies. Before playing video games a person might have been extremely productive and loved many different activities. However, since developing their addiction to League of Legends all they have the desire and drive to do is play that game.
Their old pastimes like making music or playing sports just doesn’t quite do it for them anymore. The reason for this is gaming is a very unique activity that provides such a high level of stimulation with a very low barrier for entry. It doesn’t take much energy to turn on your PC and double click that League of Legends shortcut. Furthermore, this stimulation causes dopamine desensitisation in the brain. This is an alteration in your brain’s reward system caused by excessive gaming that makes us addicted to video games in the first place. We go into more detail on this in our causes of video game addiction.
The take-home here is that you are not alone in feeling like this and with the right gaming addiction treatment we can get things back to the way they should be.
Neglecting responsibilities is also accompanied by this. As you can imagine, not being motivated to do things you used to enjoy is one thing. But mustering up the motivation to carry out various obligations and tasks for the game while being addicted to video games is near impossible. We all have priorities, be it parenting, work or chores. However, if you find playing League at the top of that list then we may want to get help.
Damage to Social Relationships
Previously we mentioned the social aspects of League of Legends taking precedence over our real-life interactions, usually, this is when problems begin to arise. Children these days are growing up in a digital age where a large portion of their socialising is done online playing video games with their friends. There is a time and place for gaming with friends online as they can be beneficial in strengthening and maintaining relationships. But when they start to become their only relationships from a young age it could have serious long term effects on their social skills.
Kids who are shy or suffer from social anxiety can be attracted to the safety and anonymity of interacting over the internet causing them to neglect important face to face interactions. This can result in poor communication skills as they lack the confidence and experience to meet with people in the real world.
Video game addiction doesn’t just act as a social crutch for youngsters. They can have a negative impact on all relationships. Those in the peak of their gaming addiction tend to forget about family members, friends and significant others becoming completely engrossed in their game of choice. In this instance, with a game like League of Legends where each match is an average of 30 minutes, players can easily waste their entire day playing, not stopping to think if they’d missed any plans, birthdays or important commitments they have to others.
Poor Performance at Work / School
I’m sure for some of you this might sound familiar. You’re playing League in the evening and you had a feeder on your team so you decided to play another to rectify the loss. You lose the next game and slowly start to tilt. You and your duo partner agree to play to regain the LP or to work your way into promos. Before you know it, it’s 4 am and you’ve got to be up in 3 hours.
Late-night gaming binges are a massive contributor to a fall in performance in work and school. Sleep deprivation massively hurts cognitive function, memory and learning throughout the day. Not to mention the blue light emission from the screen before bed has been scientifically proven to decrease sleep duration and sleep quality.
When someone addicted to video games attempts to quit or cut down they can likely notice a mental “fog” that makes it hard for them to concentrate or think rationally. This is due to the high level of dopamine they were exposed to. Once their brain had become accustomed to it, suddenly cutting this out means that they are at a lower dopamine level than needed to function.
As it stands dopamine is essential for motivation, attention span, memory, learning and motor function. All of which are paramount when it comes to working or studying.
Beating League of Legends Addiction For Good
We acknowledge that those looking for help have likely attempted to quit playing video games on their own or with some advice from friends. A lot of the time people who don’t understand video game addiction will give very generic and unhelpful advice like, “stop playing” or “just take some time off.” While this would help, many don’t understand the addictive urges that make this task so impossibly hard. So here are some actionable steps you can take in your journey to beating League of Legends addiction.
Identify Your Addiction
The first step in overcoming video game addiction is identifying the problem. Many gamers go on late into their lives without realising a problem with their gaming habits, so let’s take a look at these signs of video game addiction to determine your addiction. The key here is, to be honest with yourself. It’s easy to explain away red flags in your behaviour so try to hold yourself accountable.
- Decline in academic performance or work
- Decline in physical and neglecting health and hygiene to play games
- Damage to personal, professional and family relationships
- Fall in mental health and wellbeing
The World Health Organisation explains that these symptoms must be exhibited over a minimum of 12 month period for diagnosis of video game addiction to be considered. So bear this in mind when looking into your addictive symptoms.
Some symptoms other symptoms that might be harder to spot are:
- Obsessive thinking about video games when not playing
- Losing the concept of time, numerous hours passing without realising when playing
- Feeling irritable and agitated when not playing, mood swings without playing
- Lying to conceal gaming habits
Sometimes loved ones will notice these changes in your behaviour before you do. If friends and family are bringing these symptoms to your attention then it might be time to consider a change.
Increase the Barrier for Entry to Playing League of Legends
Ideally, we want to quit or cut down on League of Legends and in order to do this, we will need to take a 90-day detox from video games. Now, this will be challenging and the temptation to relapse will be looming. However, here are some tips that we can use to make playing League more difficult and stop us from going back.
The aforementioned barrier to entry to play League of Legends is very low. The game is well optimised to run on the most budget PC’s, the file size is not very large to download and to top it all off the game is entirely free. The game is simply too easy to start playing so let’s add some steps to make it less appealing.
- Try deleting or hiding the shortcut from your desktop. Having it front and centre every time you log on is asking for trouble
- Temporarily give your account to a family member or friend. Having them change the password and lock you out of the account is a great option if you’re struggling with self-imposed limits
- Unplug your PC after you’re done using it. This might sound strange but adding this extra step before turning your PC on to play can often buy us enough time to think rationally about what we’re doing
- Finally, if you feel confident enough, uninstall the game altogether. The process of redownloading the game in order to play should make it much less appealing.
Find Alternative Activities
While cutting down and detoxing from video games we will be left with an abundance of free time that we have to dedicate to other activities. Where people often go wrong with detoxing from video games is they simply do nothing with their time, get bored and give into their temptations as their mind is not being occupied.
How we want to do this, is to find a couple of activities that satisfy the different types of stimulation League of Legends used to provide. So, we need something that can give us a challenge and mental stimulation, something that provides social interaction and finally something that helps us to relax and unwind after a long stressful day.
Here are some examples:
Mentally Stimulating – Things like martial arts, learning an instrument or extreme sports. All of these offer a great learning curve with the chance to perform and compete.
Social Interaction – Joining sports teams like football, basketball and hockey can be a great way to meet people of similar interests. However, if that’s not your style maybe try a dance or performing arts class.
Relaxing Activity – Low energy activities like drawing, reading, cooking or catching up with your friends and family can be a much healthier way to wind down into the evening.
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t immediately fall in love with your new hobbies or activities. Passions aren’t built in a day so keep going. Also, feel free to pick up one of your hold hobbies again if that sounds more interesting.
Utilise Some CBT Exercises
Again quitting or cutting down on playing League of Legends is going to be difficult. However, we strongly recommend that you practice some CBT exercises. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is the gold standard of treatment when it comes to addiction.
CBT is based on the principle that the way we think and act are intimately linked. Hence it focuses on changing the way we think to influence the way we feel and therefore the way we act. CBT exercises have been clinically proven to help reduce addictive symptoms. As an example of a CBT exercise to get us started we should create a trigger journal when taking a detox from gaming.
This is a book where we write down an entry every time we get the urge to play League of Legends. In this entry, we want to write down when it happened, what caused the urge and how it made us feel. The importance of getting this information down is to not only tell us about what triggers us to play League but also to help take power away from our cravings.
When we write down, what seems like a powerful thought, on paper. It can appear very underwhelming and detached from what it once was. By looking at these cravings as simple words on a page it can help us to reduce the power that they used to have over us and think rationally instead of them luring us back in again.
If you feel like you want to quit or cut down or want to know more about video game addiction, The Mindful Gamer is always here to help.