Gaming Addiction

Reach Out Us Today! Most Private Insurance Accepted

Video games are fun. In moderation, they can even be good for you. A study conducted in 2016 by a Spanish research team found that teens who played video games for a small amount of time each week (one hour) had better motor skills and higher school achievement scores than their non-gaming peers.

Unfortunately, too much time with video games can be harmful and may indicate a gaming addiction.

What Is Gaming Disorder?

Gaming disorder, or video game addiction, is a condition characterized by an obsessive need to play video games. Adolescents with gaming disorder may ignore schoolwork, stay up all night and spend all of their free time in front of a television or computer screen.

Gaming disorder is not yet included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5), the so-called “bible” of mental illnesses, but is often considered to be similar to other behavioral addictions, including gambling addiction.

Symptoms of Video Game Addiction

Gaming disorder isn’t just about enjoying video games – it’s about needing to play video games in order to feel normal.

Signs and symptoms of video game addiction include:

  • Needing to play games longer and longer to achieve the same “rush”
  • Feeling irritable or anxious when not playing video games
  • Repeated failed attempts to stop or cut back on video games
  • Social isolation in favor of video games
  • Lying to others about the amount of time spent gaming

Excessive gaming can also result in numerous physical symptoms including:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

Some individuals who are addicted to video games may neglect personal hygiene and meals because they feel as though they are unable to take breaks from the game. They may also miss school and work.

What Causes Gaming Addiction?

Like many other forms of media, video games are designed to be addictive. As an example, television shows may end an episode with a cliffhanger, encouraging the audience to come back for more. Most people who play video games do not develop a serious addiction, but those who do keep playing because the game’s mechanics reward them for staying engaged.

Many people with gaming addiction have co-occurring mental illness, such as depression and anxiety. These people might “self-medicate” with video games, using the virtual world to escape the stresses of daily life.

In the end, there is no single cause for video game addiction. More research is necessary before all of these causes can be discovered.

Gaming Addiction Treatment     

Gaming addiction, like other behavioral addictions, can be treated through professionally administered therapy and behavior modification. Individual therapy, family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy are all powerful methods of video game addiction treatment. Behavioral interventions such as setting strict limits for the computer and television may also make a difference.

People with co-occurring disorders often benefit from medication. As an example, a teen with depression and gaming disorder may be prescribed antidepressants, and a teen with bipolar disorder and gaming disorder may receive mood stabilizers. By treating the underlying illness, the symptoms associated with gaming disorder become easier to treat.

For more information about video game addiction treatment and video game addiction rehab at Sovereign Health of Rancho San Diego, contact our 24/7 helpline.

We can help you today!

We accept Most Private Insurance, reach out to us to so we can help!

Stay connected with Sovereign Health
Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements
How can we help your teen succeed?

Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and high-quality treatment programming for substance abuse and mental health. Call our 24/7 helpline at any time to reach our admissions team.

What Are Our Past Patients Saying?

"There was more than just therapy. There were life skills that were taught and everyone here cared genuinely." - Jack