While it is easier to understand being addicted to drugs, alcohol or other substances; video game addiction is a relatively new kind of addiction altogether. It is recent and often affects kids and teenagers. The effects of this particular addiction are not to be taken lightly though, it can develop into a full blown addiction with classic symptoms like irritability, depression, and withdrawal symptoms being seen from time to time. The ‘American Psychological Association’ may not have included video gaming into its list of mental illnesses but psychologists warn of similar effects as gambling and sex addiction.
The initial indication of being addicted to video games includes symptoms like:-
- Turning to games for mood elevation.
- Using the games as an escape route from reality.
- Missing out on outdoor activities, studies, bathing, and meals for playing video games.
- Fall in performance levels at school.
- Lying and making excuses in order to return to gaming.
- Irritability when forced to stop playing.
There are no specific cures for video game addiction yet and the treatment methods followed are similar to those for other addictions. However, modification of behavior along with extensive counseling is recommended by experts. Giving up computers or using the Internet totally is not possible though as school lessons depend heavily on this electronic medium. Counselors advise controlled use of computers therefore with a close watch being kept on the affected individual initially for video gaming addiction symptoms.
Both one-on-one and family sessions are required to understand the root cause of this addiction. Counselors usually try to find out how closely the gaming activities influence their school habits, moods, and life’s goals.
Some of the primary methods used by the psychologists to get rid of this addiction includes:-
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This is a limited time therapy that is concerned with replacing the negative thoughts leading to compulsive gaming habits in the mind of the individual with healthier ones. Setting goals and trying to achieve them without the aid of gaming is one of the methods employed by the counselor.
Wilderness Therapy – This therapy involves keeping the victim of gaming addiction amidst natural surroundings, far from the trappings and gadgets of modern life. Removing the affected person from the source of the addiction happens to be the main object of this therapy and the counselor is concerned with dealing with irritability and other withdrawal symptoms extensively.
Inpatient – Allowing the person to stay at a video game treatment center is often effective particularly for young patients who are counseled both individually as well as in groups in a game free environment.