What Is Teen Gaming Addiction Treatment?
Similar to Internet Addiction, Teen Gaming Addiction Treatment is a specific behavioral disorder characterized by becoming preoccupied by nearly constant thoughts or behaviors of playing video games. Gaming Addiction is often present as a Co-Occurring Disorder, in a person also diagnosed as, or experiencing, other Mental or Mood Disorders, such as Depression, Bipolar, or Anxiety.
What It Looks Like
As gaming has become a multi-million dollar, worldwide industry, its popularity has become extremely widespread among all ages, but especially adolescent and young adult males. The most common types of games people become addicted to are MMORPG, or Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games. The nature of these games can easily lead to addiction because they’re highly competitive, highly interactive, and happen in real time, which mimics a level of community and real social interaction.
This often serves as an alternative community to people with Gaming Addictions, as it’s very common for them to also suffer from extreme levels of anxiety and difficulty with social interactions, as well as high levels of loneliness. This alternate world allows people a “safe” place to try on different personas and behaviors, without being judged accordingly. While this sort of play can be harmless in moderate amounts, for people with the disorder, such avoidance of the real world for sake of the virtual, creates problems with the people missing out on fundamental and necessary growth, both individually and socially.
It’s also common for people with Gaming Disorders to have Depression or Anxiety.
Teen Gaming Addiction Treatment
Treatment for Teen Gaming Addiction Disorders is based on treatment for Addiction. Therefore, therapists will help teens gradually make progress through the steps of:
- Recognizing their addiction and understanding the consequences
- Cutting back on gaming until it becomes a manageable, intentional behavior, rather than a compulsive behavior
- Identifying what needs, stresses, or contexts trigger the person to want to retreat into the Gaming world
- Discovering and implementing new activities and/or approaches to those triggers, instead of gaming
- Learning other healthy ways of dealing with stress
- Learning and practicing healthy social skills and ways of communication
- Addressing any other Mental Health issues the person may be experiencing
- Taking responsibility for any harm their addiction may have caused, and making efforts toward repair and healing, where possible
Why is being addicted to video games necessarily a bad thing?
Playing a lot of video games, in and of itself, isn’t really the problem. The real problems are the many things that get neglected, ignored, missed out on, or hurt, because you’re playing them so often. Chances are, if you’re addicted, then there’s a decent list of things that have suffered because of it: family relationships, school work, other responsibilities, and friendships are just a few. The bottom line is, the time you spend in that fake virtual world is time you can’t spend in this one. And, the longer you’re gone, the more damage is usually done.