Gaming Withdrawal: What To Expect
The following are symptoms of gaming withdrawal, please pay close attention to your child in the period following after you cease all their gaming activities: anxiety , low mood, sadness and despair, irritability, anger , strong desire to get back online and play video games , and defiance .
Note that these symptoms are only temporary and they will subside as time goes by, starting off strongly at first then slowly fading as time goes by. This can span between weeks or months varying from person to person. It is important to be strong and not give in to the tantrums that your child will inevitably throw during this time.
What Are The Warning Signs
The American Psychiatric Association has identified nine warning signs to watch for when it comes to recognising gaming disorder. Although these can be helpful to better understand the severity of your own situation, its important to always seek the advice of a professional.
In My Case It Was An Avoidant Coping Mechanism It Was Easier For Me To Go And Avoid The Anxiety Of My Recent Breakup The Anxiety Of My Parents The Anxiety Of School It Was Easy To Avoid All Of The Difficult Situations Through Gaming
Walker Wadsworth, 22, in September at reStarts campus in Fall City, Washington.
On the evening of Oct. 21, 2015, a relative picked up Bracke from the Seattle airport and dropped him off at reStarts main facility, a large two-story blue house in Fall City, Wash., surrounded by a garden and acres of forest. He checked in with the staff, dropped off his luggage in the house and joined a small group of young men sitting around a campfire. They were eating hot dogs and conducting their evening meeting, a ritual Bracke would come to know well: Each took his turn sharing what he accomplished that day and what he planned for the next. Some of the guys, just to help me feel more comfortable, told part of their history about how they ended up here, Bracke recalls. Just being around other people who had gone through what I had gone through and knew what it felt like made a huge difference. I felt accepted. It almost sounds corny to say it, but I got there and immediately felt I had made the right choice.
A huge component of reStarts philosophy is the importance of maintaining relationships. These guys have almost universally what I would call an intimacy disorder, Cash told me. They dont really know how to build and maintain intimate relationships. The solution to addiction is connection. We are building a real recovery community with our guys. Its all about building friendship and community that is face to face, in person, rather than online.
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What You Can Do
If you have five or more of the nine symptoms of video game addiction, then please seek help.
Accepting you have an issue is the first step. A great second step would be talking to your GP. They will likely recommend you receive Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Dont worry if youve never heard of that, its not scary!
CBT is a form of mental health counselling that teaches you how to replace thoughts about gaming, guiding you toward a healthier path. If you dont want therapy, there are a few tips you can try that might help
- Place a time limit on how long you can play for, and stick to it
- Try a new hobby every week. It doesnt matter what it is, so long as it gets you trying new things.
- Quit gaming for a while. This one will be difficult, but many find that quitting cold turkey is the only way they can make it work.
Remember, being a gaming enthusiast is not the same as being an addict. A tiny percentage of the population is addicted to video games, and unless you fit five or more of the symptoms, youre perfectly fine!
Could My Kid Be Addicted To Video Games
The word “addiction” gets used a lot to describe a certain kind of focused attention on media and technology. We say we’re “addicted” to checking our email or “addicted” to watching Game of Thrones. Kids, however, might display what looks to be addictive behavior when they’re only super engaged in creating something or getting to the next level in a game.
But if you have real concerns about your kid’s behavior and notice mood changes, falling grades, mounting bills, or a lack of human interaction, you may want to talk with your pediatrician about the possibility of game addiction or the idea that another issue, such as depression, might be causing these problems.
Consider how much time you spend looking at screens, too. Make sure you’re setting a good example at home by moderating your own technology use. And it’s always a good idea to invite your child to do something together in the real world.
The Child Mind Institute contributed to this article. Learn more at childmind.org.
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Antidepressant Drug Addiction Dependence And Withdrawal In Online Addicts
Due to the evident link between video game or Internet addiction and depression, it is not surprising that many addicted gamers take antidepressant medication to help with the symptoms. Though most healthcare professionals consider this type of medication to be safe and effective, it also comes with its own set of risks and side effects. One factor to consider before beginning antidepressant medication is that it may be difficult to stop taking it. It is common to experience withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, nausea and dizziness. In more serious cases, it is possible to experience depression as a symptom of withdrawal from the medication. This depression can be even more severe than the original depression, leading the patient to believe that the illness has returned.
Understanding Video Game Addiction
Over 2 billion people play video games worldwide, and the market for video games was estimated to be a $90 billion industry in America in 2020. The average gamer plays for about 6 hours every week. For most players of all ages, playing video games is a fun pastime: a way to relax, connect with friends, and enjoy a challenge. Unfortunately, for some players, a video game hobby can escalate into an addictive disorder which takes over their lives.
In recent years, the smartphone has surpassed the computer and the console as the most common gaming device. Video games are now available on apps and social media. Furthermore, massively multiplayer online role-playing games continue to be immensely popular. Every day, games like League of Legends, World of Warcraft, Fortnite, Final Fantasy, and The Elder Scrolls Online draw millions of players into their virtual worlds. About 160 million Americans play MMORPGs and other internet-based games every day.
Like all good things, videos games are best in moderation. Adults and children alike can develop unhealthy, obsessive relationships with video games that they love.
Featured Center Offering Video Game Addiction Treatment
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Prevention For Gaming Addiction
As with any addiction, behavioural or otherwise, the only way anyone can be absolutely certain of not developing a gaming addiction is never to play video games at all. However, such complete abstinence in those who have not developed an addiction may be overcautious: as mentioned earlier, as part of a balanced life gaming can be a harmless recreation providing a great deal of enjoyment and a good way of relaxing. Indeed, some studies show that some games enjoyed in moderation can actually be beneficial in terms of their impact upon problem-solving
skills, coordination and even general knowledge.For those who would like to participate in video gaming, but wish to take some steps to prevent the possibility of addiction developing, some safeguards can be put in place:
Not Everyone Agrees This Is A Disorder
While it feels like this classification is a fait accompli, the designation of gaming disorder as an addiction remains hotly debated.
The American Psychiatric Association is still not convinced. Two things are holding it back.
The first is that problem gaming often occurs alongside other factors such as loneliness, or mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. The APA argues problematic gaming may be a symptom of these, rather than a unique condition in its own right.
The second issue for the APA is the lack of strong evidence and research to support gaming disorder as an addiction in its own right.
Other experts have also weighed into this debate suggesting the classification is simply a response to the huge community concern and moral panic about video games.
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The Negative Effects Of Video Game Addiction
Along with setting up the conditions for addiction, excessive gaming puts teens nervous systems into a constant state of overstimulation and hyperarousal. In this state, the body produces increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Hence, teenage video gaming addiction can actually change the brain over time. In one study, young adults with gaming disorder showed lower volumes of gray and white brain matter, associated with poor decision-making, impulse control, and emotion regulation. Furthermore, teens who engage in pathological video gaming are at higher risk of substance abuse disorder, because teenage video game addiction primes the brain for other types of addiction.
The chronic stress caused by hyperarousal is coupled with physical issues produced by the sedentary nature of gaming. As a result, the negative effects of video game addiction include the following:
- Difficulty paying attention and controlling impulses
- Poor emotion management
- Depression, irritability, and anxiety
- Lowered immune function caused by chronic stress
- Unhealthy diet and weight
- Sleep deprivation, insomnia, and circadian rhythm disorders
- Becoming desensitized to violence
- Enhanced risk of ADHD
- Increased hostility, particularly in teens who have pre-existing personality traits like aggression and indifference to othersmaking them more susceptible to violent media, research shows.
Why Video Games Are So Addictive
Whether itâs video games or games you play on your phone, theyâre a wonderful â and effective â 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.
âI wasnât really into games as a kid,â Ryan says. âI got into them a bit in middle school.â
When his older brother died in an alcohol-related accident, Ryanâs parents became both stricter and more removed, he recalls. Gaming provided much-needed relief.
âThey didnât want me going out once I got into high school,â he says. âVideo games were the only thing I could do at home that also took my mind off how terrible everything was.â
Soon, every minute he wasnât 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.
âVideo 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,â Grammar says.
âWhen used for an appropriate amount of time, it can be restorative to be in the moment and playing a game,â he says.
But, he adds, âgames 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.â And thatâs where things can go awry.
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Teenage Video Game Addiction Treatment At Newport Academy
As with substance abuse or eating disorders treatment, effective video game addiction treatment must address the root causes of the maladaptive behavior. First, teens need to recognize that their behavior is not serving their well-being, and commit to the work of healing. Subsequently, therapists guide them to explore the emotions they are self-medicating with gaming.
In addition, treatment guides teens to build healthy habits and a balanced relationship with technology. In terms of modalities for teenage video game addiction treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family therapy, and residential treatment have all been shown to have positive outcomes.
In conclusion, if your child is struggling with teenage video game addiction, Newport Academy can help. We treat the root causes of maladaptive behaviors, not just the symptoms. Contact us today for more information about our outpatient and residential programs for teens, at locations across the country.
How To Tell If Gaming Is Unhealthy
If youâre trying to determine if your gaming habits are healthy or unhealthy, Grammar suggests asking yourself three critical questions:
- How do you feel after playing? Do you feel relaxed and rejuvenated, or are you anxious to play more?
- Are you able to stop playing after a reasonable amount of time?
- Is gaming negatively affecting your life? Are you in danger of losing a job or a romantic relationship? Failing out of school?
If you find you cannot change your gaming habits in response to negative consequences that come from it, it might be time to seek professional help.
âIf a person cannot reduce how much they play and it is severely impacting their life, then professional help would definitely be in order,â Grammar says.
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How Our Helpline Works
For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the PsychGuides.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.
We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you.
Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither PsychGuides.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.
For more information on AACs commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page.
So What Would It Be Advisable For You To Anticipate From Professional Treatment
Tips to deal with your youngster’s gaming
Here are a few hints for supporting more solid ways to deal with gaming for youngsters include:
- encourage sport and physical activity. This can increase blood levels of serotonin and have a positive effect on mood and symptoms of problematic gaming
- talk to your child about what they enjoy about gaming and why they want to game regularly. Their answer will help you identify if there are others issues they may be experiencing and using gaming as an escape
- when you call your child off their game, ensure they have an activity to shift to, such as a family outing or dinner. This will create a reason to get off
- when calling your child off a game, give them time to finish the game. Continuously being asked to get off mid-game can be frustrating and lead to arguments. Ask them how much longer they will need to finish the game and then ensure they get off when the game is over.
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Can I Be Addicted To Video Games
Whether you can become addicted to video games has been the topic of much debate over the years. The American Psychiatric Association made a significant step toward accepting video game addiction in 2013, when it included internet gaming disorder in its dictionary of mental health issues as worthy of further study. The World Health Organization reports that video game addiction is present when your pattern of gaming begins to impair important areas of functioning.
Video games are likely addictive because they affect your brain and behaviors in the same ways as addictive substances. Playing a rewarding video game triggers a physical reaction by releasing a pleasurable chemical in your brain. The chemical, called dopamine, feels good, so you keep repeating the same behaviors to continue experiencing that feeling.
Experts now believe that up to 10% of people in the general population have a video game addiction, which is high, but the problem may be even worse overseas. In China and South Korea, video game addiction is a public health crisis for teens, with specialized treatment centers needed to improve the situation.
How Do You Recognize The Signs Of Video Game Addiction
You might ask yourself the following questions:
- âIf I play World of Warcraft for a whole weekend, after finishing a week of finals, do I have a problem?â
- âIs it a problem if I game for 12 hours on both Saturday and Sunday, after studying very hard for the semester?â
These are great questions to ask, and the answer is relatively simple.
If it causes a problem, then it is a problem.
âHow do I know if I am addicted?â Dr. Alok Kanojia answers that question in this video:
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