Video game addiction is a real mental health condition that is seeing rising numbers in the United States and beyond. This disorder, which is most prevalent among male teenagers and young adults, can negatively affect an individual’s overall mental and physical well-being.
If you think that your child may be addicted to video games, you’re probably wondering what you can do to stop it. While there may not be a way to automatically turn off an addiction like this, there are ways to treat the condition and help your child feel more like themselves again.
Video Game Addictions: What Are They?
While playing video games is a harmless hobby for most people, it can be addictive for certain individuals. It is possible for some people to simply enjoy gaming, but others have an actual problem. There is currently only a small percentage of people who struggle with this type of condition, but it is certainly possible. Video game addiction can become very serious if gone untreated and can eventually lead to bigger problems like a gambling addiction.
So how do people develop video game addictions?
There are many potential causes for this kind of disorder, the main one being a person’s desire for escapism. Video games promise a fantasy world and allow individuals to leave their problems from the real world behind. Video game addiction may also come from wanting to be a part of something. Many video games, particularly ones that are played online, encourage group play and team work. It is possible for people who feel lonely in real life to chase after the feeling of being needed by others. And finally, anxiety and depression may lead someone to keep to themselves and play more video games. If someone already has another mental health condition, they are more likely to become addicted to playing video games.
Symptoms of Video Game Addiction
If someone has several of the symptoms below, they may be addicted to playing video games:
- Thinking about gaming all of the time
- Not being interested in other things they used to like
- Having problems at school or work because of gaming
- Continuing to play despite problems that it causes
- Needing to spend more time playing to feel good
- Feeling like they need to play instead of wanting to
- Not being able to quit or play less
- Being irritable when they can’t play
- Skipping meals to focus on gaming
- Lying to people about how much they play
- Using gaming to ease bad moods
- Mental health issues (depression, anxiety)
Of course, showing just a few of these side effects does not guarantee that someone is dealing with a video game addiction. But if gaming seems to genuinely get in the way of your child’s life, then they may have this condition. At the end of the day, you are their parent – so you know them best. Compare what they’re doing now with what they did before they played video games frequently. Have their grades changed at all? Have they made different friends and left the ones they used to have? Has their relationship with you been altered? If your child hasn’t made any of these major life changes, there is most likely not anything to worry about.
How to Prevent Addiction to Video Games
While you can’t prevent your child from developing a video game addiction, you can take a few steps to lower their risk. First, you can limit the amount of screen time or computer time they have per day. You could also try keeping phones and gadgets out of the bedroom at night. To keep your child engaged and entertained in other ways, try to enjoy new activities and hobbies together. Encourage light exercise every day and spend time outdoors as much as you can.
Treatment for Video Game Addiction
Sometimes, it may be too late to prevent video game addiction. However, there are many treatment methods available that could help your child get over this condition. These methods may include CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), group therapy, family therapy, support groups, educational resources, and any necessary mental health treatment.
At Elium Health, we offer treatment for video game addictions and other mental health conditions. With your support, we can assist your child in understanding the causes of their addiction and developing healthier coping mechanisms. To learn more about video game addiction and the services we offer for this condition, contact our team of mental health treatment specialists by giving us a call at 866-552-3758 or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.