Video Game Addiction In Children
Unfortunately, the age at which children are being introduced to technology is getting lower and lower. Children are always more vulnerable. Therefore, kids addicted to video games can face severe physical, psychological and social consequences of gaming addiction, which can be hard for both the child and the parent.
Keeping a close eye on your childs gaming activities is extremely important to prevent them from developing internet gaming addiction.
When To Consider Video Game Addiction Treatment
Gaming stimulates the brains reward centers which simulates the same high that a person with drug or alcohol problem might experience. While most people associate addiction with substances such as drugs or alcohol, doctors recognize online gaming addictive behaviors as well. If your teen would prefer to play video games than hang out with friends, play sports or even bathe regardless of negative consequences then your teen may need treatment for video game addiction.
Before an adolescent is admitted to ERTP, an in-depth screening begins with the first conversation between parents* and a professional admissions adviser. If parents and Elk River’s admission department determine that the teen meets the criteria for admission, the admission process continues with a comprehensive enrollment application where parents expand on their concerns that led to placing their child in a residential therapeutic program.
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.
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Debates On The Classification
A meta-analytic review of pathological gaming studies concluded that about 3% of gamers may experience some symptoms of pathological gaming. The report noted problems in the field with defining and measuring pathological gaming and concluded that pathological gaming behaviors were more likely the product of underlying mental health problems rather than the inverse.
Barnett and Coulson expressed concern that much of the debate on the issue of addiction may be a knee jerk response stimulated by poor understanding of games and game players. Such issues may lead both society and scholars to exaggerate the prevalence and nature of problematic gaming, and over-focus on games specifically, while ignoring underlying mental health issues. However, Problem gamblers have a higher chance for getting mental illness as well.
Other scholars have cautioned that comparing the symptoms of problematic gaming with problematic gambling is flawed, and that such comparisons may introduce research artifacts and artificially inflate prevalence estimates. For instance, Richard Wood has observed that behaviors which are problematic in regards to gambling may not be as problematic when put into the context of other behaviors that are rewarding such as gaming. Similarly, Barnett and Coulson have cautioned that discussions of problematic gaming have moved forward prematurely without proper understanding of the symptoms, proper assessment and consequences.
Video Game Addiction Treatment Program Options
As with gambling addiction, video game addiction is a clinical impulse control disorder. According to psychiatrist Michael Brody, MD, the criteria for video game addiction is the same as that for addiction to a substance. In both cases, the person requires more of the source as time goes on and becomes irritable and despondent when they cannot access it. In fact, video game addicts can even experience withdrawal symptoms.
Another clue that a person is addicted to video games, according to researchers at Kansas State University, is that they may play video games to alter their mood.
While the harm in addictions to substances is apparent in physical symptoms, it is often less clear with video game addiction. However, video game addiction can negatively affect a life in the same way a substance addiction can. Those who play for hours each day become withdrawn and isolated, foregoing work, school and other responsibilities to play. Younger addicts often miss out on critical education and important social development, while adults tend to experience deteriorating relationships and problems with their employers.
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Seeking Help And Treatment
Video games have had a tremendous impact both positive and negative on the cultural attitudes, psychological development, and lifestyle choices of both children and adults. While these games can be viewed as a risk to players physical or emotional health, they have also been promoted as effective educational tools and have even been used for physical or cognitive rehabilitation in clinical settings. Yet for individuals who have become caught in a cycle of compulsive gaming, video games can become destructive.The growing popularity of video games has created a new awareness of the problem of compulsive gaming, which in turn has led to the development of treatment programs for this addictive process. Treatment for video game addiction focuses on behavioral modification therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy , that guide the client away from the obsessive thought patterns and obsessive habits of addiction. Group therapy is a valuable source of motivation and moral support, especially for individuals who have lost contact with friends or peers as a result of their game addiction. Family or marriage counseling can help educate loved ones about the disorder and create a more stable home environment.
Recovered Video Game Addict Creates Support Community For Professionals And Players
Cam Adair, a video gamer in recovery, has made his lifes purpose to prevent others from reaching the same depths as he did. Cams life took a dramatic turn at the age of 11 when he began to experience intense bullying, leading him to drop out of high school and escape into gaming. He never graduated, and while all of his friends were off to college, Cam was playing video games up to 16 hours a day.
Struggling with depression he reached rock bottom when he wrote a suicide note, and it was this night when he made a commitment to change.
The stated goal of INTENTA is to equip mental health professionals with resources on digital disorders to empower an intentional digital culture. It provides internationally accredited training that covers a comprehensive overview of problem and disordered gaming, allowing mental health professionals to understand the context, dynamics, mechanisms and special issues that present with gaming clients.
According to INTENTAs website, professionals lack the tools and training to effectively screen clients, which greatly increases the risk of misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment. Without training, professionals cannot effectively communicate nor relate to clients who engage primarily in digital spaces.
Another challenge is the rapid rate of change and evolution in video game technology. INTENTA helps professionals stay current with ever-increasing game innovations and their clients struggles.
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What Causes Video Game Addictions
Researchers are not certain what causes video game addiction however, some experts believe that elevated dopamine levels contribute heavily to the problem. The neurotransmitter dopamine works in the brains reward center. It is released during activities most people find pleasurable, including eating and consuming certain drugs.
Therapists view all addictions as functioning essentially the same way. In the case of non-substance addictions, such as those to sex, gambling and gaming, the behavior takes the place of a substance. The action of playing generates a feeling of pleasure, which ensures the addict will repeat the action as often as possible.
In a report published by CBC News in April 2013, a gaming addiction expert said those with certain personality disorders or disabilities are at greater risk than others. She noted that people who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and Aspergers are particularly susceptible to gaming addiction.
Those who study video game addiction also believe that the problem has a psychological component. They contend that compulsive gamers retreat to a fantasy world to escape their real-life troubles and unpleasant emotions. According to a recent report, 41 percent of those who play online video games indicated they game to escape from reality.
Clinical Psychology Perspective On Problematic Gaming
A good clinician will always try to understand the many aspects that may influence the acquisition, development, and maintenance of problematic online videogame use. Many researchers advocate a biopsychosocial model in explaining the interaction between different risk factors . Table Table11 lists many of the main risk factors in the development of problematic online gaming.
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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.
What Causes Problematic Video Gaming
Modern technologies such as video games are designed to be addictive, which in turn, provides revenue for the video game manufacturer. With advances in technology, todays video games are far more addictive than video games just a decade or two ago.
Our hunter gatherer brains love dopamine and adrenaline, but the problem is that actual hunting and gathering takes a lot of effort. Not to mention being potentially dangerous.
Modern technology has been designed to give our brains that dopamine and adrenaline that they crave, without any effort. Not to mention with much less risk.
As a result, it is no wonder that everywhere we turn, we see people glued to their electronic screens. Once a person becomes used to easy dopamine and adrenaline, it becomes very difficult to get people to put down their devices and do other activities
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Stage I: Designing And Developing The Treatment Program
To develop bespoke psychotherapy , manuals in clinical practice must be followed to define guidelines and strategies from basic outlines in order to promote empirically supported treatments . In the development and design of the PIPATIC program, there are common and essential aspects that should be included in any program evaluation report . The word PIPATIC is an acronym for Programa Individualizado Psicoterapéutico para la Adicción a las Tecnologías de la información y la comunicación. The English translation for this Spanish program is Individualized psychotherapy program for addiction to information and communication technologies.
The guidelines proposed by Carroll and Nuro were used for the IGD treatment presented in the present paper due to their rigor and scientific underpinnings. Carroll and Nuro divide the development of treatment manuals into three stages: the development of the treatment and a pilot application, the design of the methodology with a controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment, and the evaluation of the application of treatment in different contexts and the relationship between their effectiveness and costs.
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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What Can Parents Do To Break A Childs Gaming Addiction
Effective strategies in which parents/guardians may break a childs gaming addiction include but are not limited to:
- Setting time limits for game play may include using timers or setting devices to turn off automatically once a designated time is reached.
- Removing videogame-accessible devices from the bedroom or other areas where frequent play occurs
- Engaging in family activities that do not include electronic media
- Encouraging children to become involved in extracurricular activities or part-time employment
- Having direct conversations regarding concerns about video game play
- Checking in daily to see how things are going socially, emotionally, academically, et cetera.
- Leading by example by not overusing electronic mediums yourself
- Seeking professional assistance.
The important thing is to find what works best for you. The more layers of reinforcement used the greater likelihood of successful recovery.
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The Body Responds Physically To Gaming
Clearly, when a person ingests an illicit substance or alcohol, the body responds physically. Eventually, that physical response can cause serious withdrawal if the drug is stopped suddenly. With gaming, the response is subtler, but it exists.
One reason so many educational and training programs now use gamified learning modules is that gaming triggers the brain to release the reward neurotransmitter dopamine, which helps with motivation and persistence to continue with a task. Australian neuroscientist Dr. Heather Madsen says that dopamine is a powerful learning signal which makes us want to repeat a behavior. In fact, the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders says that Internet Gaming Disorder warrants further study.
For some people, a gaming addiction requires spending time in a detox environment similar to that experienced by other types of addicts. They may then spend time in an addiction treatment center learning to use technology responsibly so they can function in the modern world without triggering addictive gaming behavior.
Make no mistake. Gaming addiction can shatter a persons life, career, and relationships, and for some, seeking help from an addiction treatment center is necessary to overcome the addiction. If you or someone you care about shows signs of gaming addiction, or if you have questions about it, we encourage you to contact us at any time.
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Does Your Loved One Have Any Of The Following
Does your loved one have any of these signs that might indicate problematic video gaming?
- Playing more than 1-2 hrs a day of video games?
- Spending so much time playing video games that it causes problems with home, school and extracurricular activities?
- Neglecting sleep, physical activity, and other basic needs in order to spend time playing video games?
- Gets upset or irritable when it is time to stop playing, or when asked to stop playing?
If your loved one has one or more of these signs, then continue reading to learn more about problematic video gaming and what to do
Addiction Or Underlying Mental Health Problem
In the debate around video game addiction, you often hear the objection that gaming is better understood as a coping mechanism for underlying mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder , and not a disorder in its own right. Is this true?
No. It is widely established in the addiction field that comorbidity the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions in a patient is common, and gaming disorder is no exception 45.Behavioural addiction and substance addiction should be defined by their similarities not their dissimilaritiesÃ, comparable to the behavior of substance-related disorders, and for others gaming excessively will be a function of impairment.
Whether problematic gaming came first, or as a result of underlying mental health problems, therapeutic goals should include treatment of the gaming disorder itself because this disorder can be the underlying agent of functional impairment, and its treatment might be a prerequisite for effective treatment of comorbid conditions 6,.
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