Therapies For Video Game Addicts
Research on treatment for video game addiction is ongoing, but few clinical trials have been conducted in relation to the problem. Experts agree that the same treatments used for sufferers of other addictions appear to work for video game addicts. As a result, they generally recommend counseling and psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, 12-step programs and medication, either individually or in combination with other treatment methods.
One-on-one counseling and family counseling are both effective in treating a gaming addict. Psychotherapists attempt to help the addict understand how gaming is related to their school or job, emotions and moods, and sense of life goals and rewards.
Where 12-step programs are concerned, the primary resource available is Online Gamers Anonymous, a non-profit organization founded in 2002.
Identify Your Addiction Triggers
The first step to learning how to overcome addictive behavior is to identify your addiction triggers. Your addiction triggers are the people, places, things, or events that cause you to want to exhibit addictive behaviors.
Common addiction triggers are particular days of the week or particular times of the day. For example, the beginning of a stressful workweek can trigger some people to want to use substances. On the other hand, the freedom of the weekend may trigger other people to want to use substances. This is because a persons brain may start to associate certain times of the week or day with using substances.
Even particular seasons of the year can act as addiction triggers. For example, cold and dark winters can act as addiction triggers for some people.
Other common addiction triggers are what a person sees and hears in TV shows or movies. What a person consumes through reading books or listening to music or podcasts can also act as addiction triggers. This is because what people consume through entertainment often affects how they behave and view life themselves.
An addiction trigger is essentially anything that makes people want to use substances to cope. Once youve identified your addiction triggers, its time to learn how to not let them cause you to turn to substance use to cope with them.
From The Causes To The Solutions Both Sides Say We Need A Lot More Research Into Gaming Addiction
As gaming addiction continues to capture more attention from the media and public health organizations, one of the big obstacles to identifying and detecting much less preventing and treating the problem is that the research in this area remains scarce, from even basic issues like how to define gaming addiction to more complex problems like how to treat it.
A thorough review of the research, published in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2017, found evidence that pathological gaming symptoms and game addiction, but not gaming in general, were associated with negative health and social consequences, such as depression and worse academic achievement, in one- or two-year follow-ups.
But the review also described the research into the detection and prevention of gaming addiction as obviously insufficient, and studies on the natural course of gaming addiction as limited confirming major gaps in the field.
Michelle Colder Carras, a public health researcher now at Radboud Universitys Games for Emotional and Mental Health Lab in the Netherlands, joined dozens of other experts to write a letter and follow-up to the WHO arguing against the addition of gaming disorder to the ICD-11. The authors wrote, The quality of the research base is low. The field is fraught with multiple controversies and confusions and there is, in fact, no consensus position among scholars.
So theres still some conflict in the research world to be ironed out over time.
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Why Is Video Game Addiction Controversial
Since there is at least one gamer in 75% of American households, most people probably know at least one person who plays video games regularly. Few people would deny that someone could play videos games too often, and its easy to say that someone is addicted when they really just need to take a break. So is video game addiction even possible?
Currently, there is no scientific consensus on when video game overuse becomes an addiction . For this reason, the American Psychiatric Association has classified Internet Gaming Disorder as an unverified potential diagnosis which requires further review. A 2017 study in the Associations official journal left open the possibility that the classification could one day change. However, it also stated that there is not enough research right now to confirm definitively that overusing video games is an addiction according to the APAs definition. The APA defines addiction as a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. This definition effectively excludes the possibility of any behavioral addictions.
Another source of scientific skepticism is the fact that only a very small portion of gamers ever exhibit any signs of a disorder, especially the specific symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. For this reason, some scientists and researchers believe that video game overuse is a just habit or a symptom of another disorder and not an addiction in and of itself.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment
Many experts recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as the ideal treatment for video game addiction. The therapy allows the addict to shift their thoughts, replacing those that lead to compulsive gaming with healthier thinking patterns. As its name implies, cognitive behavioral therapy allows a person to modify their thoughts, feelings and ultimately behavior for the better.
Therapists consider addiction a belief or way of thinking that leads to irrational, often unhealthy behaviors. They start treatment by identifying and focusing on the thoughts that start the chain of addiction and help the addict begin their transition from there.
Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques include setting goals and then learning to overcome the thinking that sparks compulsive gaming.
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Setting Limits On Your Access To Games
Warning: Setting appropriate limits can help prevent you from developing a full-blown addiction. However, if youre severely addicted to gaming, you may need to quit playing games altogether.XTrustworthy SourceCleveland ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
Is There A Test Or Self
The most effective self-assessment that can be done is to examine the above list of symptoms associated with video game addiction. If you find that you or someone you care about exhibits any of these warnings signs, it may be a good time to cut back on the amount of time spent gaming. If you are unsure whether these symptoms apply to you, we can help. Call our toll-free number at to discuss your possible symptoms or to learn about treatment options.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction
Those who suffer from video game addiction tend to prioritize video games above all other activities, tasks and obligations, including personal hygiene, their job, their family, and education. Video game addiction shares many of the same traits, signs, and symptoms of other behavioral addictions, and can worsen the state of your physical, emotional, and psychological health.
A person can be diagnosed with video game addiction if they meet any of the following symptoms:
Other signs of video game addiction include being constantly distracted by video games, only feeling happy when gaming, and spending more time gaming than socializing and interacting with friends and family. If you or your loved one is showing signs of video game addiction, getting professional help today can prevent this behavioral addiction from worsening and affecting other important life areas.
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Are You Often Just Bored And Needing A Way To Fill The Hole
Instead of gaming, try going for a walk and sitting in the park for a while.
Go people watching or observe nature, and see if you can get lost in it the same way you do in video games.
Take up martial arts, surfing, or woodworking.
Books are another great time filler that leaves you with something you may be missing in your games knowledge. Just keep in mind that if youve been overindulging in games and social media for a while, it may take a week or two to retrain your brain again for the pleasures of in-depth reading.
Finally, sometimes it may be a good idea to learn how to be bored again.
In modern society, weve lost the magical ability to just sit and think. Often our greatest ideas come in our moments of downtime.
And often if you just force some uncomfortable boredom on yourself for a while, youll find it much easier to get motivated for other non-gaming activities youve been putting off.
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Can You Be Addicted To Videogames
Although it is not yet recognized by the American Medical Association as a diagnosable disorder, video game addiction is a very real problem for many people. According to the University of New Mexico, recent studies suggest that 6 to 15 percent of all gamers exhibit signs that could be characterized as addiction.
Risk Factors For Video Game Addiction
Why do some people become video game addicts, while others seem to have no problem turning away from the game? The answer might lie in risk factors such as the following:
- The video game addict has been sexually or emotionally abused and is trying to escape from the situation.
- The video game addict has been bullied by their peer group and is seeking acceptance in an alternative community.
- The video game addict is socially awkward and does not feel comfortable interacting with people in a real environment.
- The video game addicts parents or siblings are also addicted to playing video games, making it a family pastime.
- The video game addict seeks out gaming as a way to show their aggression toward the world, or deal with anger.
- The video game addict has little control in their own life, so they turn to gaming to feel confident.
- The video game addict has lowered self-esteem and constantly uses video games to elevate feelings of self-worth.
- The video game addict is left alone for long periods of time and turns to gaming especially multi-player gaming as a source of community and comfort.
- The video game addict suffers from untreated depression and uses video games to get a high to combat their moods.
- The video game addict is spontaneous and rash by nature and is unable to control their impulsivity.
- The video game addict has a history of addiction .
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Those At Greatest Risk For Addiction
Excessive video game playing often occurs with people who find themselves unable to relate to others in a personal and meaningful way. Video games can give a person a temporary but false sense of power and dominance that they cant find in real relationships. The virtual life can eventually become more appealing than real life.
As with most obsessive tendencies, many of these gamers are using the gaming experience as a way to escape or cope with things that they dont know how to manage directly. For example, a young adult male who feels inferior in his social skills with peers his age may gravitate to other adult males who are similarly awkward in their social abilities. They may spend hours in competitive gaming without ever realizing that they are merely avoiding people they dont know how to communicate with. It is not uncommon for gamers to turn to gaming as a means of numbing themselves to their anxiety or depression in much the same way that substance abusers may use drugs to medicate themselves.
How To Break An Addiction To Video Games
For example, people that dont believe are addicted to porn or video games couldnt.Games are immersive experiences that provide you with a high amount of dopamine, and overexposure to this level of stimulation can cause structural changes to your brain 1 1.Having something to look forward to other than video games can help break down a video game addiction Here are a three ways to break or prevent the addiction cycle.
Here are three easy steps on how you can easily break an addiction.Heres what i tell them.If you dont have them, you cant play them.If you play online games, delete your accounts.
In recent years, ive spoken with many parents who are looking for ways to wean their kids from the screen.Its time to get empowered.Likewise, having other activities to engage in with friends can also help disincentivize the.Make a list of the alternative things that you are going to do
Many devices have ways to track playing time, check the manual and see whats available.One needs to accept the fact that he is addicted to something thats actively or potentially harmful.One of the best ways to manage this with my son is to give him his earned electronic time early enough in the afternoon that he can get outside and engage in some kind of physical activity afterwards.Overstimulation from video games is very real, but can also be related to sensory issues, which coexist in many children with adhd and are still poorly understood.
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Is Video Game Addiction Real
There is no such thing as video game addiction, but the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the official standard for psychiatric diagnoses, does list Internet Gaming Disorder as a real condition.
The APA defines addiction as a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences.
But this definition, Grammar says, doesnt allow for a behavior to be an addiction.
For someone to be diagnosed with an addiction of any kind, there must be tolerance and withdrawal, which only a very, very small percentage of gamers ever experience, he adds.
Under these terms, gaming isnt an addiction, but that doesnt mean it cant be problematic. It is perhaps more accurate to say people can become obsessed with video games.
An obsession is a behavior we become attached to for psychological reasons, Reiss tells Inverse, so attached, that we begin automatically seeking and taking part in the behavior without considering the consequences.
While some gamers can really long to play a game they love, if it is unavailable, they dont experience withdrawal symptoms as a result.
Using video games in an unhealthy way, Grammar says, is definitely something that can cause people to act in ways that are associated with other types of addictions like sacrificing jobs or marriages to play, or threatening friends and family members when told to stop playing.
It Starts By Getting Clear What You Do Want
Get out a piece of paper and write down why youre trying to decrease your gaming time .
And add a few of the solutions you want to try.
This will help reduce your urge to game by reminding you why youre trying to kick your habit in the first place. Keep it on hand to look at whenever you feel doubts.
You should also take this time to set other goals in your life. Cutting back or quitting games is a lot easier if you choose something more positive to focus on.
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Why Video Games Are So Addictive
Whether its video games or games you play on your phone, theyre a wonderful and effective escape.
That escape is what was so appealing to Ryan, a 41-year-old in Washington State who tells Inverse he knows what it is like to get into an unhealthy relationship with games.
I wasnt really into games as a kid, Ryan says. I got into them a bit in middle school.
When his older brother died in an alcohol-related accident, Ryans parents became both stricter and more removed, he recalls. Gaming provided much-needed relief.
They didnt want me going out once I got into high school, he says. Video games were the only thing I could do at home that also took my mind off how terrible everything was.
Soon, every minute he wasnt in school, he was gaming.
Part of the reason why games offer such escape is to do with the very nature of the gameplay, Grammar explains.
Video games are so good at letting people escape because the player takes over a different character and has control over the character’s choices and outcomes, Grammar says.
When used for an appropriate amount of time, it can be restorative to be in the moment and playing a game, he says.
But, he adds, games are designed to keep people playing for as long as possible in many different ways and hit the reward center of the brain as often as possible. And thats where things can go awry.