Video Game Addiction in Beverly Hills, MI—Therapists and Counseling
Max has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. In college, he and his friends would play through the night sometimes, but Max was always able to stop. However, recently, he has been struggling. Ever since he graduated, started a full-time job, and moved into his own apartment, Max has been gaming but without his buddies. They played together online for a while, and most have stopped, except Max. He still plays through the night sometimes, but instead of being able to sleep it off between classes, he has to go to work all day. Max has tried to cut back a few times, but his efforts have not worked. Max wonders if he has a video game addiction.
Mental health professionals have a lot to learn about compulsive behavior regarding video games, but a few things are clear: Many people wrestle with their video game use. Many are forming emotional attachments to video games that replace connection to real-life people. Many are also engaging in behaviors regarding their gaming that are traditionally associated with addiction, such as lying and an inability to control their impulses.
Many are also receiving help for their gaming habits from interventions that have traditionally serve addicts. Twelve-step groups have formed such as Online Gamers Anonymous and Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous. Unsurprisingly, mental health treatments are helping people as well.
The therapists at Thriveworks Beverly Hills have seen many adults and teens who struggle with when and how often they game, and our professionals have also seen many people overcome their compulsive gaming.
Symptoms for Internet Gaming Disorder
People commonly use the term, “video game addiction” for what The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) calls internet gaming disorder. The DSM-5 gives symptoms and a severity range for internet gaming disorder, but it also calls for more research to be done, classifying as a “Condition for Further Study.”
Internet gaming disorder can be severe, moderate, or mild depending upon how many of the following symptoms a person displays.
- Gaming for more and more time to feel the same level of satisfaction—building tolerance.
- Thinking constantly about the game—even when it is not being played.
- Turning to video games to relieve hard emotions such as fear, boredom, anxiety, guilt, loneliness, sadness, and anxiety.
- Gaming instead of working through real-world problems and challenges.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms (restlessness, moodiness, depression, and irritability) when reducing or stopping play.
- Prioritizing time spent playing over time with family and friends or opportunities for professional/educational advancement.
- Attempting to stop gaming without success.
- Deceiving people about gaming habits.
Parents and guardians should be aware of the listed symptoms for their children. There are a few extra signs that may show children or teens have developed internet gaming disorder:
- Lethargy, drowsiness, and sleepiness during the day.
- Incomplete homework and school assignments.
- Lowering grades.
- Apathy toward formerly beloved activities.
- Playing video games alone.
How Does Internet Gaming Disorder Develop?
Mental health professionals are still learning a lot about what causes may lead to internet gaming disorder, but one possible way the disorder develops is through the compulsion loops built into many video game’s narratives. Massively multi-player online role-playing games (MMORPG), social networking games, and mobile games heavily rely upon these loops to lure players further into the game.
Here is how it works: Players have to complete a challenge in the game to receive a reward. Each reward leads into the next challenge and releases dopamine in a player’s brain. The dopamine solidified the brain’s association between pleasure and the game.
Here is an example: In Monster Hunter, players have to kill monsters (the challenge). With each kill, they receive powers from the defeated monster (the reward). With new powers, players can battle even fiercer monsters (cycles into the next challenge). Once those monsters are destroyed, they receive more powers (another reward) that will allow them to battle more monsters (cycles into the next challenge). At each reward, players brains are releasing dopamine and solidifying a connection to the game.
Seeking Therapy for Compulsive Gaming
The effects of compulsive gaming, like many impulse control disorders, can be devastating relationally, physically, and emotionally:
- Relationally – The lies, money, and time spent on video games can drive a wedge in people’s real-world relationships.
- Physically – People who compulsively game may struggle with sleep disturbances, irregular eating habits, dry eyes, back pain, severe headaches, and Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.
- Emotional – Mental health challenges, such as anxiety or depression, can grow worse if video games are being used to avoid or minimize them.
If you have seen these effects or symptoms in your own life or in your child’s, you are not alone. Many people struggle with video game addiction, and Thriveworks Beverly Hills has helped many people regain control.
When you are ready to meet with a mental health professional, know that Thriveworks Beverly Hills has done everything we can to make scheduling therapy has hassle free as possible:
- A person answers our phones and helps our clients.
- Many first-time clients meet with a therapist within 24 hours of their call.
- We accept most insurance plans.
- Evening and weekend appointments are available.
Are you ready to get started? We are too. Contact Thriveworks Beverly Hills today.