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video game addiction treatment

Understanding Gaming Addiction

For over five decades, gaming has become a multi-billion-dollar industry comprising multiple video games. Some examples include: 

The American Medical Association (AMA) does not recognize video game addiction as a diagnosable disorder. However, it remains a real issue that negatively affects millions of people globally.

What Is Gaming Addiction?

Gaming addiction refers to a compulsive or uncontrolled habit of video games, which affects other areas of a person’s life. This compulsive disorder is also referred to as gaming disorder or internet gaming disorder. 

Gaming addiction refers to the excessive playing of video games. This behavior causes physical and mental harm and other related personality problems. People with gaming addiction are often unable to stop playing even if they need to stop.

In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) defined gaming addiction as recurrent or persistent gaming behavior. The WHO also accepted it as a diagnosable medical condition. In addition, gaming addiction can be described by three criteria. These criteria include:

Although millions of people play video games, most of them lack an addiction to gaming, with about 3-4% having an addiction. In contrast, some experts suggest that video gaming can strengthen cognitive skills, such as memory and reasoning. This makes it an engaging social component, but moderation can be difficult.

Symptoms of Gaming Addiction

Like other addictions, video game addiction accompanies certain warning signs determining if an individual is an avid gamer. These symptoms can occur whether playing offline or online and can be physical or emotional. Some most common symptoms of gaming addiction include:

While these symptoms may have short-term effects on the individual, some can result in severe long-term problems. For instance, an individual can suffer from fatigue and hunger as short-term effects of gaming addiction. However, these symptoms can become long-term effects and cause sleep disorders or diet-related health problems.

Common Causes of Gaming Addiction

Typically, video games are created to become addictive through behavioral psychology that keeps the player hooked to the game. Besides, games offer riveting experiences, stimulating a high amount of dopamine, while overexposure can cause structural changes to the brain. Therefore, each time someone plays increases gaming-related activities in the brain.

Gaming regularly makes the player feel in control and safe, creating a dominating environment where they are comfortable. This is among the leading causes of gaming addiction since they prefer spending time seeing measurable progress within the game. Other causes and triggers of gaming addiction include:

Generally, gaming addiction can occur due to the nature of the game, behavioral health elements, and personality traits. Despite providing temporary comfort, video games can further intensify someone’s problems long-term.

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Health Risks of Gaming Addiction

Compulsive video gaming has various adverse effects on a person’s mental and physical behavior. This incorporates multiple health risks and concerns, including:

Treatment For Gaming Addiction

Although researchers are looking for the most effective treatment methods for addictive games, video game addiction is treatable. Thus, people with video game addiction can undergo treatment programs to manage gaming symptoms. Whether suffering from gaming-related physical or emotional health issues, rehabilitation and therapy can help ideal treatment options.

Therapy focuses on the problematic behavior of gaming to determine its origin, symptoms, and ways to integrate change. In addition, it recognizes other behavioral health issues or substance use disorders that might require treatment to manage gaming addiction symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the leading therapy method for treating video game addiction. It is an approach that makes an individual replace thoughts of gaming and change their pattern of behavior. These behavioral interpolations include encouraging other healthy behaviors and creating boundaries around gaming.

However, video game addiction has no medication to manage the habit specifically, but certain drugs can help reduce specific symptoms. In addition, someone with other behavioral health issues or addiction diagnoses can have medication to help treat these conditions.

Get Help For Gaming Addiction at New Method Wellness

Recovering from video game addiction can be difficult since the habit can be severe like other addictions. At New Method Wellness, we offer professional therapy treatment for gaming addiction, where we help patients recover from their addiction. For more information, contact us to learn more today.

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Clinically Reviewed By:

Deanna J. Crosby, M.A., LMFT, LAADC, Psy.D. (C)

Deanna Crosby is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) with over 20 years of experience working with clients in recovery. Her expertise has catapulted her into the spotlight. Featured on several episodes of the Dr. Phil Show as a behavioral health expert, DeAnna is a routine contributor for NBC News, The Huffington Post, Elle Magazine, MSN, Fox News, Yahoo, Glamour, Today, and several other prominent media outlets. 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Irvine, Crosby did postgraduate work at Centaur University where she graduated at the top of her class with a CAADAC certification in Centaur’s chemical dependency program. Following her time at Centaur, Crosby received her Master of Counseling Psychology degree from Pacifica Graduate Institute, where she also attained a Doctoral Degree in Depth Psychology.

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From all of us at New Method Wellness co-occurring treatment center, we wish you peace and serenity in knowing that you or your loved one will get the necessary help.


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