Last updated: 09/14/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
An addiction to video games or computer games is just like any other addiction. Like other addicts, gamers often are trying to escape other problems in their lives. Video and computer games offer a particularly appealing escape to socially awkward teenagers, most often boys, who find it hard to resist becoming immersed in a world where they are completely in control. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, computer game addicts or gamblers may show reduced dopamine response to stimuli associated with their addiction presumably due to sensitization.
Often people with gaming addictions especially kids are finding it challenging to stop gaming because everyone in their social network are gamers too. Kids who are addicted to virtual reality have lost the ability to communicate with other people face to face. They’ve spent all of their time in a virtual world and are extremely uncomfortable when dealing with real people.
If you find that your child is spending too much time online help him to find other activities that will create healthy habits such as playing outdoors with friends, camping with family, fishing or sporting activities or other after school clubs that they might be interested in.
Finding a therapist or treatment program that specializes in gaming addiction would be the first step. Finding the right program is essential. More harm than good can be caused when a child is forced into a program that isn’t right for him, making him feel even more isolated and awkward. Find a nature or wilderness program that will get your child out of his normal environment and into a situation where he is forced to experience reality. His time will be filled with activities that are designed to instill confidence, develop healthy passions, and foster social skills.
Treatment Options for Video Gaming Addiction
Gaming addiction help is similar to that for other addictions. Counseling and behavior changes are essential in treating addicted gamers. Together, individual and family counseling are powerful treatment tools. Some treatment facilities incorporate medication in their programs.
Unlike drugs or alcohol, video games are tied to computers, which are a key part of life for most people. In that way, the addiction is similar to a food addiction. As a result, some treatment centers explore controlled use rather than abstinence.
No overall cure for video game addiction exists. As with alcoholism and drug addiction, the key is to enter treatment and to stay aware of triggers while continuing to participate in recovery groups, such as Online Gamers Anonymous.
Residential Inpatient Gaming Addiction Treatment Centers
Inpatient treatment for addicted gamers is sometimes needed for those who need to leave their environment altogether for a time in order to change their destructive behavior. Such treatment centers offer group therapy, individual counseling and a game-free atmosphere.
Some facilities offer private rooms, while some are more dorm-like. All programs are designed to make the patient feel safe, comfortable and supported so they can heal.
Once a gaming addict has spiraled so far into their addiction that they are entirely withdrawn into the addiction, they have few options for overcoming the dependency on their own. This is where inpatient treatment facilities are a tremendous help. They help patients relearn healthy coping skills in a contained environment.