Video Game Addiction Rehab Center
With hardcore graphics, more compelling characters, attractive user interface, realistic situations, and greater strategic challenges, video gaming across the world is just making people more glued to their gadgets, like consoles, laptops, computers, mobile phones, and tablets. Video game addiction is real and one who has experienced it will swear by its uncontrollable effect to make one obsessed with playing.
There are increasing evidence that people of all ages, particularly teens, are facing detrimental consequences due to the compulsive use of video and computer games. Today, video game addiction is being treated as similar to compulsive gambling, where the adrenaline rush to win the game becomes the primary motivation to continuously indulge in playing.
With more people getting into the mad rush of controlling a virtual situation and winning it, treatment has become imperative to bring those people back to reality. Scientists in the United States and across the world are still conducting researches to understand this type of addiction and devising new medical treatments for it. However, there are treatments that can deal with people suffering from video game addiction.
What is video game addiction?
Video game addiction is an impulse control disorder that involves an obsessive and compulsive use of video games, excessive and unhealthy amount of playing computer or console games and showing addictive behavioral patterns of playing incessantly. Individuals indulging in excessive video games try to connect with other players in the virtual world of fantasy through the internet. The internet is catapulting the use of virtual gaming among gamers, both young and old.
The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) identifies internet gaming disorder in Section III of the manual as a condition warranting more clinical research and experience before it might be included as a formal mental and behavioral disorder in the manual.
The addiction is such that teenagers prefer to stay glued to their consoles or computers rather than hanging out with friends outside, playing sports or even watching televisions. According to Douglas Gentile, a psychologist at Iowa State University, who has been studying video game addiction for decades said that around 8.5 percent of children who play video games in the U.S. are addicted.
What triggers video game addictions?
Experts believe that elevated dopamine levels in the brain contribute to developing an addiction.
Douglas Gentile, a psychologist
Dopamine works at the brain’s reward center and is released when an individual indulges in something that gives pleasure like playing one’s favorite video game, or abusing a drug or taking part in gambling activities.
Psychologist Douglas Gentile believes that easy access to technology and the spread of broadband internet are potential risks of fueling video game addiction. He adds that games are extremely compelling because they satisfy the “ABC” of human needs. He says, “The A is Autonomy, and one feels like he is in control; B is Belonging, and one likes to feel connected to other people; and the C is Competence, and one likes to feel that one is good in what one does to achieve something.”
However, there are other researchers like Cecilie Shou Andreassen from the University of Bergen, who believe that video game addiction is an escape mechanism to cope with underlying disorders, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and depression. An individual suffering from such disorders uses video games as defense mechanisms.
What are the warning signs of video game addiction?
Like any other addiction, video game addiction has its own warning signs that can help an individual to seek treatment on time. Some of the symptoms that can be found in an individual addicted to video games are as follows:
- Spending most of the time playing video games, even without taking a break.
- Negative impact on educational performance and interpersonal relationships.
- Extreme preoccupation with the game; thinking about the previous game or devising strategies of winning for the upcoming game at all times.
- Feelings of depression, restlessness, anxiety when not playing or trying to cut down on playing hours.
- Avoiding social and family commitments to indulge in gaming.
- Secretive about gaming use.
- Lying to family members, friends and colleagues about the extent of involvement in online gaming.
- Repeated and unsuccessful attempts at stopping game use.
Though most people play video games on computers, laptops, handheld devices or consoles, there are some who cannot juggle between the multiple demands of life, like attending school, doing household chores, studying, family life, etc. Games start to interfere in managing their day-to-day affairs and also deplete relations among family, friends and colleagues.
Many people who attempt to quit gaming become depressive, highly anxious, develop mood swings, get agitated, and start developing an imaginary life of their own. Video game addiction also has physical effects on an individual, like backaches, dry eyes, severe headaches, insomnia, eating irregularities, etc.
Moreover, some people are so engrossed in their “digital avatars” that they start losing touch with their real self. They start acting and believing like their online personality and also develop frequent hallucinations.
What treatments are available for video game addicts?
The treatment for video game addicts can be multifaceted depending on the severity of addiction in an individual. Though experts are still experimenting with the most viable forms of treatment, there are certain programs that are used in combination to best treat a patient suffering from video game addiction:
- Video game detox: Like other addictions, treatment for video game addiction can also start with a detox. The only difference is that the patient has to learn to live with it because computers, laptops, and mobiles have become an integral part of life. They will have to learn to use it responsibly in due course of time. Keith Bakker, director of Smith & Jones Addiction Consultants, said, “The key is to show gamers they are powerless over their addiction, and then teach them ‘real-life excitement as opposed to online excitement’.”
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps a patient to understand the actual situation that he is in and accordingly measures are taken to control the addiction. The therapists supervising CBT have two main purposes: a) to learn and understand an individual’s thoughts and perceptions about himself in a particular situation; b) to turn an individual’s negative perceptions to positive feelings. The therapists help in altering the thoughts (cognitions) that contribute to unhealthy gaming patterns and in modifying one’s actions (behaviors) to slowly develop healthy playing habits, thus reducing the time spent on gaming.
- Family therapy: As the name suggests, this therapy involves the patient and his family members to develop healthy inter-personal relationships and instill family dynamics that can control a patient’s gaming habits. This therapy is particularly helpful for a child or a teen.
- Wilderness therapy: This is an innovative intervention where a patient abstains from environments involving video games and placed in a situation where he comes in contact with the real world. A patient is exposed to activities that are designed to develop healthy passions, hobbies that foster social skills and also instill confidence and motivation to pursue various other accomplishments.
Counseling sessions can either take place in group or individual or both, depending on the patient’s needs and his response to treatment. Medications will be a part of the treatment to ease depression and anxiety during the intervention process.
Inpatient video game addiction rehab centers
Inpatient treatment requires a patient to stay in the facility while seeking treatment. This treatment works best for people who are heavily addicted to video games and can suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms when attempting to abstain from playing.
Inpatient treatment includes individual and group counseling involving different psychotherapies, pharmaceutical treatments, detox programs and a game-free atmosphere. An inpatient video game rehab center tries to instill coping mechanisms in a patient, so that while exposed to the outside world he is capable of controlling his urge to play. An inpatient video game rehab center can offer a customized program that can span from 30 days to 60 days or more, depending upon the patient’s situation and treatment response.
Outpatient video game addiction rehab centers
Treatment programs in outpatient video game addiction rehab centers are similar to that of an inpatient video game addiction rehab center. However, in an outpatient program, a patient can go back to his house after the treatment sessions. But he has to visit the rehab center as and when the therapists outline in his treatment plan. Such a program is best suited for a person who has some control over his video game addiction.
Finding the best video game addiction rehab center
Although it is not recognized as a disorder by the American Medical Association, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) clearly highlights that internet gaming addiction needs more research to understand the dimensions of adversity and its potential risks to an individual. Having said that, there are potential treatments for treating video game addiction, depending on the needs of an individual. Prominent rehab facilities offer curative interventions that apply specific treatment approaches to cure video game addiction.
The irony is that most people won’t even realize that their gaming habits are gradually taking the shape of acute addiction. In this case, family and friends play an important role in helping to seek proper treatment in a prominent rehab facility. Recover Mental Health understands that addiction to anything is bad and needs treatment.
If you or your loved one is trying to find the right rehab center that can separate you from your gaming addiction, then speak to our treatment advisors at 866-593-2339. You can also chat online with them for all your queries pertaining to your problems. Remember, being virtual and staring at a screen will not consume your troubles. You need to come out of your virtual life and step into the world of actual relationships and we can help you find your real self.