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How To Treat Video Game Addiction

Harmful Effects Of Video Game Addiction

Treating Gaming Addiction

Video game addiction offers a number of harmful effects for your physical, psychological, and emotional health, and can cause lasting damage to your social life, friendships, and relationships with partners, spouses, and other family members. Video game addiction has been linked to depression, ADHD, and OCD. Gaming addiction also has its own set of withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, anger, and violent behavior when gaming is stopped abruptly.

Some of the harmful effects of video game addiction include:

  • Increased risk for ADD or ADHD
  • Learning disabilities that result from slowed responses after playing intense games
  • Musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities from sitting for long periods of time or from only using the upper body
  • Lowered metabolism from lack of physical activity or poor nutrition
  • Weight gain due to lack of exercise and sitting for long periods of time
  • Weight loss due to skipping meals while playing video games
  • Poor social skills and interactions
  • Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and OCD

Video games can be a complex, detailed, and compelling interactive activity. When played responsibly and in moderation, there is little chance that video games will lead to adverse health reactions or addiction. But when gaming gets out of control, and there are no limitations, professional addiction treatment may be needed to help you or your loved one get back on track with healthy living.

The Crossover Effect: From Entertaining Gaming To An Addiction

How can playing a video game be harmful? After all, its just a game and not a physical activity to the extent that youre putting yourself in potential physical danger from opponents. Going beyond the question of whether video gaming can be harmful, how can the activity be considered addictive? Research is divided on both questions, although studies continue to explore the behavior.

For many parents, educators, video game advocates, and fans, the fact that their child, friend or peer plays such video games is a positive development, since the activity helps sharpen focus and cognitive ability and promotes working in a collaborative manner with others. What they may not recognize for some time, however, is when their son or daughter, classmate, co-worker, neighbor or friend spends time gaming instead of taking care of homework, sports, participating in social get-togethers, family events, or getting much-needed physical exercise. At that point, the positives associated with video game playing start to wane, replaced or outweighed by a number of negatives.

In a key rebuttal to a direct comparison of video gaming to gambling addiction, an article in Psychology Today says that the premise is flawed for the simple fact that video games do not involve losses of a material nature or financial wagers or stakes. The major contention here is that playing a video game is more dependent on utilizing sharp reflexes and innate cognitive ability, while gambling is more luck-related.

How Can A Video Game Addiction Impact Your Mental And Physical Health And Your Life In General

The negative effects of video game addiction on your physical and mental health are numerous. The physical health harms of excessive video game playing and video game addictions include:

  • Seizures

No one knows if playing video games causes these issues or if having these issues increases the risk of video game addiction. The connection is present, though.

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Adhd And Video Game Addiction

Many individuals with ADHD, who can barely spend ten minutes doing mundane tasks such as paying bills or preparing their taxes, can easily lose themselves for hours on end playing video games. The stimulation, novelty, and excitement grabs and maintains their interest. Without these stimuli, they can be apathetic, fatigued, or spacey.

A recent study found that gamers with ADHD symptoms may be at a greater risk for developing video game addiction. Up to 23 percent of people who play video games report symptoms of addictive behavior.

If you know someone who cant put down the controller, here are some practical strategies that can help them overcome Video Game Brain:

Are Video Games Screens Another Addiction

Video Game Addiction Treatment

In an increasingly digitalized world, where most people even children own electronic devices with screens, many parents worry about the effects of screen use on themselves and their children.

To complicate matters, some screen time can be educational for children and support their social development. With the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, many children and teens spent even more time playing video games to socialize with friends, since they couldn’t get together in person.

With screens virtually everywhere, controlling a child’s screen time can be challenging. How can you manage your children’s screen time? How will you know if you or your children are addicted to screens or video games?

Is screen time damaging?

It’s difficult to avoid screens completely. However, excessive screen time can affect people’s mental, social and physical health.

Too much screen time has been linked to:
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Difficulties with work or school

Many people have cried, laughed or been startled while watching a movie. This is because their brains process and react to the sensory input as if it were happening to them. This same type of engagement is possible when a person plays a video game.

How can gaming become an addiction?

Symptoms of screen time or video game addiction

Similar to tobacco, alcohol or drugs, screen time or video games can become an addiction if it damages your health and relationships, and you are unable to control it.

Some symptoms could include:

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When Is Gaming A Mental Health Problem

Online and offline gaming can have social and recreational benefits, and most people who play them will not exhibit clinically problematic use. The kind of gaming behavior that concerns mental health experts involves a prolonged or recurring habit that comes at the expense of a persons functioning outside of games and that may damage close relationships or interfere with the pursuit of educational or career goals.

A passionate engagement with games or even an extended bout of intense gaming doesnt indicate a disorder or an addiction if it does not disrupt a persons life. The ICD-11 advises that hard-to-control gaming that crowds out other aspects of life should typically be evident for a year or longer in order for a diagnosis to be made.

Since gaming disorders are defined and measured in different ways, estimates of their prevalence vary widely. Representatives of the WHO, which established gaming disorder as a diagnosis, have emphasized that those who could be classified as having it make up a small proportion of gamers overall. According to the DSM-5, disordered Internet gaming seems to appear most among male adolescents.

The Biological Aspect Of Video Game Addiction

Unlike alcohol and drug addiction, the biological aspect of video game addiction is uncertain. Research suggests gambling elevates dopamine, but theres more to addiction than brain chemistry. Online gaming allows a person to escape the real world and change the perception of self-worth.

The lure of a fantasy world is especially pertinent to online role-playing games. These are games in which a player assumes the role of a fictional character and interacts with other players in a virtual world. An intelligent child who is unpopular at school can feel dominant in the game. The virtual life becomes more appealing than real life.

Too much gaming may seem relatively harmless compared with the dangers of a drug overdose, but experts say video game addiction can ruin lives. Children who play four to five hours per day have no time for socializing, doing homework or playing sports leaving little time for normal social development. Imagine a 21-year-old with the emotional intelligence of a 12-year-old who has never learned to talk to girls or never learned to play a team sport.

Some gamers exhibit severe withdrawal symptoms, becoming angry, violent, or depressed if electronics are restricted. Residential treatment is a safe setting for withdrawal from any addiction. ERTP conducts comprehensive assessments and evaluations immediately upon admission and uses the results to develop an Individualized treatment plan.

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How Is Video Game Addiction Treated

Cognitive BehavioralTherapy can reduce problematic behaviors such as compulsive video game use by helping people to identify the template with which they view the world and to develop healthy ways to cope and adapt. Various forms of therapy and medications can treat the mental health challenges that often accompany addictive behaviors, such as depression and anxiety. Inpatient treatment centers and group therapy programs may also be valuable in certain cases.

Signs & Symptoms Of Gaming Addiction


Many addictions drive the addict to secretive and solitary behaviour, and potentially into isolation, and gaming addiction is especially damaging in this regard due to the typically solitary nature of most gaming. As a result, many of the symptoms of gaming addiction may be invisible or remain concealed for quite some time, as the addict withdraws from social circles and even important relationships. Nevertheless, there are a number of signs which can indicate the development of an addiction to external observers.

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How Common Is Video Game Addiction

One large-scale study concluded that 1.4 percent of video gamers may have an addiction. Other studies, conducted in various parts of the world and with various age groups and assessment criteria, have revealed prevalences of addiction among gamers ranging from 0.6 percent to 6 percent. Across all of these studies, what is clear is that the vast majority of video gamers do not have an addiction.

Inpatient And Outpatient Facilities

Many people who decide to seek help for addiction often wonder whether inpatient treatment is more effective than outpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment is designed to be an intensive, full-time therapeutic regimen. Outpatient treatment allows patients to continue living at home and possibly continue working or going to school, depending on the treatment schedule. At both types of rehab facilities, patients get the help they need through regular therapy in a group setting, as well as on an individual level.

With residential rehab, patients live in the treatment centers comfortable settings, which are designed to help them feel at home. Patients live with one another and can provide vital support to each other while on the road to recovery.

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Video Game Addiction Treatment And Help For Teens

Over the years as video games evolved into complex and realistic escapes for players of all ages, the mental health professionals at Elk River Treatment Program began to see an increase in admissions of teens with an intense obsession with gaming. Since ERTP’s Treatment Team already addressed the of addictive behavior rather than just the behavior itself, the program was well equipped to address video game addiction that includes, but is not limited to, online gaming, role-playing games or any interactive gaming environment.

In January 2018, the World Health Organization included gaming disorder to the beta draft of its forthcoming 11th International Classification of Diseases. May 25, 2019, WHO officially voted to adopt the latest edition of its International Classification of Diseases to include an entry on “gaming disorder” as a behavioral addiction. Also in 2019, Internet Gaming Disorder was included in the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders .

The WHO defines the mental health disorder as a “persistent or recurrent” behavior pattern of “sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction

Addicted to video games? This treatment might help ...

If you suspect that someone you care about suffers from an addictive gaming disorder, there are some important signs to watch out for. If youre trying to tell if someone has a serious video game problem, consider these questions:

  • Are they becoming isolated from family and friends?
  • Are they lying to others about how often they play video games, and do they often play in secret?
  • Do they become upset and irritable when theyre not playing video games?
  • Are they neglecting work or school to play video games?
  • Are they avoiding activities they once enjoyed?
  • Are they skipping meals to focus on gaming?
  • Are they often tired because theyre not getting enough sleep?
  • Do they have physical problems from gaming too much, like carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, and eye strain?

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Video Game Addiction Symptoms

Before you can look for a gaming addiction treatment center, you must determine if your loved one really needs the help. They must also meet certain criteria or conditions for experts to diagnose them.

The first criteria of gaming addiction is a teens impaired control when it comes to playing. Basically, they dont have control over how long or how often that they play games. Next, they have to give increased priority to video games. The activity takes over their lives to the point that it takes precedence over daily activities and other interests.

Lastly, they have to continue gaming despite the habit having negative consequences. Keep in mind that these conditions have to occur over the course of a year. People who get really into a new game and play a lot for a few days dont have an addiction.

The only exception is when the symptoms of video game addiction are severe enough to take immediate action. This problem usually occurs when peoples health or lives are at risk because of their strong obsession with games. When their lives are at risk, a gaming addiction treatment center is a top priority.

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.

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Video Game Addiction: A Parents Evidence

Some kids spend long hours playing video games. Do they suffer from video game addiction?

Not necessarily. Kids might play opens in a new windowvideo games with disturbingly violent themes. They might spend too much time on the couch, becoming more sedentary and socially reclusive.

Kids might sometimes neglect their chores or homework, and they might fail to develop the ability to entertain themselves.

But such problems dont mean that a child suffers from an addiction.

Addiction Begins In The Brain

Treatment for video game addiction

The brain is the supercomputer that runs everything in your life. It plays a central role in your vulnerability to addiction and your ability to recover and maintain sobriety. Understanding the brains role in addiction, prevention, and treatment is the key to helping people break free from their addictions. Until then, they will continue to fuel their addictions with daily habits and actions that pollute the brain and make it even harder for them to break free from those addictions. One way to help identify addiction in the brain is with SPECT imaging.

Overloaded work schedules, not getting enough sleep, and living with strained relationships all can lower brain function, and make it more difficult to fight addiction. Eating a fast food diet, guzzling sugary sodas, and gobbling unhealthy snacks deprives the brain of proper nutrients, which decreases your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. Isolating yourself from family and friends to hide your addiction also has a negative effect on your brain that can further intensify your addictive behaviors.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Video Game Addiction

Symptoms of video game addiction will match many substance use disorder symptoms as well as the symptoms of other behavioral addictions. The most telling sign will be when you or your loved one spend a lot of time playing video games, even when doing so begins to harm the people and things you care about.

Addictive symptoms may begin slowly or be hard to recognize, so you must look for the warning signs. You or a loved one could have a problem if you notice symptoms of video game addiction including:

  • A sense of tension right before playing

  • A feeling of euphoria or high when playing

  • Inability to stop playing, despite your best efforts

  • A strong craving to keep playing

  • Feeling sad, irritable, or empty when not playing

  • A feeling that time is passing more quickly or more slowly

You could even experience something called game transfer phenomenon, which is when you see or feel elements of a game while not playing. You may see health bars above others heads or feel like you are changing weapons when walking through a supermarket.

Treatment For Gaming Addiction

Treatment for gaming addiction at Priory is similar to the approach that is used for treating people with other addictions such as compulsive alcohol or drug use, with residential, day and outpatient addiction programmes offered.

If you believe that the amount of time that you or a loved one are spending playing computer games is adversely affecting other aspects of life, then we can devise a bespoke treatment programme involving behavioural therapy, self-help groups, and 12-Step rehabilitation programmes if the severity of your addiction is acute.

Gaming addiction is categorised as an impulse control disorder, which means that you may struggle to manage your urge to play video games, and may experience withdrawal symptoms should you not be able to play a game for an extended period of time. It is likely that you will have established an increasingly dependent routine involving an increasing amount of gaming each day, in order to satisfy cravings.

To help you to manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviours relating to gaming addiction, there are a number of therapy and self-help treatments which work towards abstinence and reduction in the amount of time that you spend playing computer games, and instead help you to learn techniques that allow you to direct the urge to play video games into alternative and more positive behaviours.

The two primary signs that set gaming addiction apart from avid gaming habits include:

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