Gamers, especially the ones who play it on the smartphones, would have never thought that their unconditional love for gaming could turn into a serious addiction and reach a level that it ruins their entire life.
A UK woman has revealed how her life fell apart due to her addiction to Candy Crush. The 34-year-old mum said that she got so addicted to the game that she played up to 18 hours a day.
Natasha Woolsley's gaming addiction made her lose her boyfriend, her job, and now left her in thousands of pounds of debt.
She told Mirror.co.uk: "It's broken up our family, pushed my son's dad away and, even then, I couldn't stop." This is a serious disorder which was recently recognised by World Health Organisation and included it in its list of official illnesses for the first time.
The craze of Candy Crush began from the time it first came out in 2012 and has hooked millions on their mobiles since that time.
Natasha first tried her hands at the popular game around four years ago but had no idea that it would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of her life.
"Friends sent me requests to play the game via Facebook and in an idle moment I thought there'd be no harm," she said.
"I honestly can't remember a gap between starting and playing every waking moment, sometimes up to 18 hours a day. Because it was on my phone, I could play on the school run, in the bath, even on the toilet," she added.
She further revealed how her addiction made her 'wanting more' of it in the middle of the night and how she would hide in the bathroom to play a few more hours so that she could move up one level in the game. She said: "I was completely out of control."
"I'd regularly lose track of time and forget to pick Taylor up from school so would get a call asking where I was. I stopped reading to him at bedtime and I'd just throw a packet of crisps and a chocolate bar in his school lunchbox because I didn't have the time or energy to make anything healthy."
She even went on to compare herself with an "alcoholic". She said: "Even when I was with him I wasn't 'there'. I was wanting to get my phone out, like an alcoholic thinking about their next drink."
Her annoying habit even made her boyfriend furious and eventually, he walked out. It wasn't enough to bring her back to her senses.
She even ended up losing her part-time job as a supermarket shelf-stacker because her manager got fed up with her addiction.
"I sacrificed so much to pay for Candy Crush. I wouldn't get my hair cut for months, I couldn't afford clothes or see friends for coffee," she said. "I reckon I've spent over £5,000 on Candy Crush, and still have over £3,000 of debt on my credit cards."
Her addiction went so out of the hand that she took help from an addiction counsellor, Steve Pope. "I started one-to-one sessions with Steve three times a week, and he's transformed my life," Natasha said.
Currently, she is playing it only for two-three hours but she says that she is recovering slowly. She got her job back but not her boyfriend.
Therapist Steve said: "In the last two years I've seen an almost exponential rise in the number of patients who have an element of gaming addiction. Because video gaming is so now ubiquitous and seen as a harmless pastime, it can become a gateway addiction to other, sometimes more damaging, addictions."