Phoenix Rising Behavioral Video Game Addiction Treatment
Video Game Addiction
When video games emerged on the scene in the 1970s, they were simple and primitive, games like Atari’s Asteroids or Pac-Man provided a mellow diversion from the demands of life. These old school video games were limited to venues such as pizza parlors and arcades, not fixtures inside the home.
Fast forward to the 1990s when video games took on a whole new iteration and were played in the home using gaming consoles and monitors and were often played online with other players. Since then, the gaming industry has grown exponentially, right alongside the time that players spend gaming.
Today’s games boast stunning graphics and span a wide range of themes, with a large percentage of them involving fantasy, war games, crime, and science fiction. The massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) allow millions of subscribers to interact with each other online.
Why is Video Gaming Addicting?
Today’s video games integrate psychological principles that encourage players to spend more time engaging and progressing in the game. These include the principles developed by behaviorist B.F. Skinner, who used positive and negative reinforcement to control the behavior of mice. When designing video games, the simple stimulus and reward pattern is intrinsic to how the player interacts with the game.
Video gaming becomes problematic when the individual begins to place gaming above all else in life, sacrificing time with friends, family, and relationships in order to play video games. Again, the games are designed to fulfill the need for quick rewards and to provide a sense of accomplishment, as well as maximize the competitive elements that drive ever-increasing amounts of time engaged with them. It is believed that dopamine, the brain chemical associated with addictive behaviors, is released in response to playing the video games, reinforcing the behavior.
How Much is Too Much Gaming?
When video gaming begins to negatively impact one’s physical health, mental health, academic or work performance, and interpersonal relationships it has become a problem. Lack of sleep, acquiring a sedentary lifestyle playing video games several hours a day, avoiding personal responsibilities, and becoming socially withdrawn are signs that an individual is preoccupied with gaming.
Signs of video game addiction mimic those of other behavioral addictions, including:
Obsessing over playing video games, planning the next gaming session, and devising ways to get out of other events or responsibilities to return to the game
Trying to hide how much time he or she is spending playing video games
Trying to reduce time playing the games and being unable to do so
Continues to excessively play video games, even in light of negative consequences
Uses gaming to avoid real world responsibilities
Irritable and moody when prevented from playing or trying to cut down
Compulsive gaming can cause negative effects in many aspects of life, including:
Personal relationships. When gaming consumes so much free time that it doesn’t allow for the cultivation of friendships and other relationships it becomes detrimental. Excessive time spent in the fantasy mode of video gaming can thwart social skills and have___
When a player cannot resist the lure of getting online and playing video games, areas of life that need attention will begin to be short-changed. There is just so much time in a day, so if gaming eats into the time that should be used to study, work, or sleep it can have long-range consequences.
Physical health. Kids and adults who spend copious hours on the couch or at the desk playing video games can suffer weight gain and poor health due to lack of exercise and reduced sleep. Repetitive stress injuries in the hands and wrists can also result from excessive gaming.
Aggression. Many of the video games feature combat, crime dramas, and violence. A detached attitude toward death and violence can result from the constant exposure to these themes. A player’s participation in shooting and warfare may lead to increased aggression.
Treating Video Game Addiction
Phoenix Behavioral Healthcare uses a multi-dimensional approach to treating individuals who struggle with compulsive, excessive video game use. The outpatient rehab offers therapy and support for overcoming a video game addiction. Individual psychotherapy (talk therapy) sessions can help the individual identify what issues might be driving the compulsion in a safe and supportive space. Someone hooked on gaming may be suffering from social anxiety, for example, using video games as a “safe” way to interact with others in a virtual setting.
Group therapy can provide social support and input from peers who share the same problem. The therapist will facilitate the group discussion with topics related to issues that may be driving the compulsive gaming, and the members of the group can share their particular experiences.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is helpful for video game addiction, as it helps the individual recognize how the lure of the game can be challenge for his or her ability to control impulses. Even when they realize they should be spending the time doing schoolwork or attending social events, they allow the impulse, the desire to play, to control their behavior. CBT can help the individual form new responses to the prompt to play video games, leading to healthier behavioral and social functioning.
Receiving Treatment for Video Game Addiction
If you or your loved one is in need of help and treatment for video game addiction, Phoenix Rising Behavioral can help. The treatment team will provide an individualized treatment plan that will address your unique issues and needs. The therapeutic treatment will focus on retraining the brain to use improved coping skills, healthier choices, and refocus goals. Call to speak to Admissions about the program at 877-299-5694. Phoenix Rising Behavioral services Orange County, Southern California residents.
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Serving Clients from the United States who are seeking recovery from addiction. We provide addiction treatment programs, detox resources, and sober living resources.
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Serving Orange County in California for Day and Evening Outpatient Treatment Services. National Resources for Detox, Inpatient, Residential, and Sober Living options. Call Admissions for guidance at 877-299-5694