Last updated: 09/14/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Most people have one or more activities they really enjoy doing. Favorite pastimes are an essential part of a healthy lifestyle provided engagement in one or more pursuits doesn’t compromise other areas of a person’s life. Video game addictions take favorite pastimes to a whole new level that’s destructive in effect.
Video game addicts have developed an obsession with gaming. Unlike substance-based addictions where drugs and alcohol become the obsession, gaming addicts are obsessed with the activity or process involved with playing video games. Interestingly enough, an obsession with a process or activity has similar effects on the brain as a substance-based obsession.
Video game addiction treatment centers treat gaming obsessions in the same way drug treatment centers approach substance addictions. The physical and psychological effects of video gaming on addicts become the focus of a video game addiction treatment center’s approach.
Compulsive Video Gaming
While video game addictions have yet to garner an official diagnostic category, the symptoms associated with video gaming closely resemble those associated with alcohol and drug addictions, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine.
Symptoms of video game addiction include:
- Persistent preoccupation with anything to do with video games
- Mood swings, personality changes
- Spending inordinate amounts of time gaming
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when not playing
Video game addiction treatment centers offer interventions designed to help addicts overcome the hold video gaming has over a person’s life.
Patterns of behavior develop out of belief systems supported and nurtured by a person’s thinking patterns and emotions. Likewise, the “rush” addicts experience when playing video games goes a long way towards creating the addiction mindset. Video game addiction treatment centers use psychotherapy as a means for helping addicts replace destructive thinking and behavior patterns with a healthy mindset and productive coping strategies.
Over time, video gaming “highs” alter the brain’s normal chemical processes and functions. As psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety are borne out of chemical imbalances in the brain, it’s not uncommon for gaming addicts to develop psychological disorders on top of an addiction problem.
Video game addiction treatment centers use a comprehensive treatment approach designed to address and treat co-occurring conditions that can aggravate a person’s addiction behaviors. Not unlike drug treatment approaches, video game addiction treatment centers treat the whole person throughout the course of any one program.
Levels of Treatment
Video game addiction treatment centers treat addiction in stages in terms of addressing the physical and psychological damage caused by compulsive gaming. Levels of treatment available through video game addiction treatment centers include:
- Residential care
- Outpatient care
- Aftercare treatment
People struggling with chronic gaming addictions will likely require residential care at the start, which entails living at the facility for the duration of the program.
Outpatient care offers more flexibility in terms of allowing participants to schedule treatment around a person’s existing work and family schedules. Outpatient treatment works well for someone who’s at the beginning stages of addiction as well as for those who’ve just completed residential treatment.
Aftercare entails a long-term treatment plan designed to help a person maintain a non-gaming lifestyle. Regardless of the severity of a person’s addiction, aftercare treatment is an important part of the recovery process.