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The Impact of Post-Pandemic Britain on Mental Wellness: Gaming Addiction

The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to our lives, from social distancing measures and lockdowns to remote work and online learning.

However, as we turn the corner, it’s crucial to recognise the lingering effects of the pandemic on our mental well-being.

This article will delve into the alarming rise of one such consequence: gaming addiction in the UK.

As you stay with us, we’ll explore how gaming addiction has intensified in the post-pandemic years, its implications, and strategies for combatting this growing issue.

By shedding light on this topic, we hope to contribute to a broader discourse on mental wellness in these trying times. Don’t miss out on this crucial conversation.

Escalating Mental Health Issues: A Glimpse at the Numbers

As the pandemic’s impact unrolled, the UK has seen a concerning surge in mental health disorders.

According to statistics from Champion Health, there have been significant increases in the number of people reporting symptoms of severe mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.

Moreover, a shocking 17% of people are now experiencing moderate to severe symptoms of depression post-pandemic, an alarming increase from 10% pre-COVID.

This doubling of depression rates is an eye-opening indication of the extensive emotional toll the pandemic has taken on British society.

The data further indicates that young adults and women have been particularly affected, with young adults (aged 16-24) being more likely to experience symptoms of depression compared to before the pandemic, and just under a quarter of women (20%) reportedly feeling depressed and hopeless about the future.

These figures underscore the pressing need for comprehensive mental health interventions, both at the individual and community level, to address the spiraling mental health crisis in post-pandemic Britain.

Why Did Gaming Addiction Surge in Post-Lockdown UK?

The shift to remote work, schooling, and entertainment saw an uptick in screen time, leading to an alarming rise in gaming addiction.

This issue has been particularly pronounced in the UK, where the gaming industry is a significant part of the culture and economy.

The surge in gaming addiction in post-lockdown UK can be attributed to various factors:

  1. Escapism: During the lockdown, with the external world largely inaccessible, people sought solace in the digital realm. Video games provided an escape from the harsh realities of the pandemic, immersing users in alternate worlds where they had control and could achieve a sense of accomplishment.
  1. Boredom and Free Time: The lockdown left many with an abundance of free time and limited options for activities. Video games filled this void, providing entertainment and a way to pass the time.
  1. Social Connection: In a time of social distancing, games offered a platform for interaction. Many multiplayer games enable users to connect with friends or make new ones, providing a sense of community and human connection.
  1. Mental Health Issues: The increased rates of depression and anxiety created a fertile ground for addiction. Gaming can become a coping mechanism, offering temporary relief from stress and negative emotions.
  1. Easy Access: The widespread availability of games on various devices, including mobile phones, made it easier for people to start gaming and harder to stop. The line between casual gaming and addiction can easily blur when access is so readily available.

These factors combined to create the perfect storm for a surge in gaming addiction in the UK following the lockdown.

Impact of Gaming Addiction on Mental Wellness:

Post-pandemic, the impact of gaming on mental health has been profound, particularly in the UK. As we discussed, for some, gaming became a lifeline, a way to maintain social connections in a time of physical isolation, and a coping mechanism amid heightened stress and uncertainty.

However, excessive gaming has also led to negative outcomes.

Excessive Screen Time / Lack of Activity:

A significant number of individuals have reported feelings of anxiety and depression due to excessive screen time and a lack of physical activity.

Excessive screen time, notably through prolonged gaming, can have detrimental effects on our mental health. This concern arises primarily from the sedentary nature of screen-based activities.

Engaging in physical activity is known to release endorphins, our bodies’ natural mood-lifters, which help combat feelings of depression and anxiety. When we spend long hours in front of a screen, we often neglect physical activity, leading to lower levels of these beneficial chemicals in our body.

Social Isolation:

Additionally, the immersive nature of video games can lead to social isolation in extreme cases, depriving individuals of essential human connection and interaction.

Unhealthy Sleep Patterns:

There is also the risk of disrupted sleep patterns, as the blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.

How detrimental is this?  Well, sleep is crucial for our mental health because it functions as the body’s natural restorative process.

When we compromise on sleep, we deprive our brain of this essential rest and recovery time. This can lead to increased irritability, difficulty in concentrating, and heightened susceptibility to stress. Over time, chronic sleep deprivation can contribute to more serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

How to Stop a Gaming Addiction:

Treating a gaming addiction involves both recognising the problem and taking steps to change behaviours. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Self-awareness: The first step is to recognise the problem. Spend time reflecting on your gaming habits. How much time do you spend gaming? Is it interfering with work, school, or relationships?
  1. Set Boundaries: Implement strict time limits on how long you can game each day, and stick to them. This might be an hour per day, or perhaps gaming only on weekends.
  1. Find Alternatives: Fill your free time with activities other than gaming. Engaging in physical activities, pursuing a hobby, or spending time with friends and family can provide healthy, fulfilling alternatives.
  1. Seek Professional Help: If self-help strategies are not enough, it might be time to seek professional help. Therapists and counsellors experienced in dealing with gaming addiction can provide valuable guidance and support.
  1. Support Groups: Connecting with others who are experiencing the same struggles can be very beneficial. They can offer understanding, advice, and encouragement that you might not find elsewhere.

Remember, overcoming a gaming addiction won’t happen overnight. It’s a process that requires time, patience, and persistence. However, with the right approach and support, it is entirely achievable.


In conclusion, the post-pandemic era has ushered in a surge in gaming addiction in the UK, presenting a serious threat to societal mental well-being.

While gaming can serve as a temporary escape from reality, excessive indulgence can lead to a myriad of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

As we navigate through these challenging times, it’s crucial to foster a balanced lifestyle, combining screen-based activities with physical exercise, social interaction, and good sleep hygiene.

Moreover, addressing the root causes of gaming addiction, such as stress and anxiety, is imperative to mitigate its impact and foster a healthier, happier society in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Contact Orchestrate Health today to learn how we can help treat this increasingly common disorder.

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