Charlotte Video Game Addiction Therapy

Interventions for Video Game Addiction in Charlotte, NC—Therapists and Counselors

Levi’s buddies texted to ask if he wanted to play Frisbee golf at the park. No, he replies, not today. Levi has been playing video games at home every afternoon and into the evening. He plays almost all day on the weekends too. Recently, his parents found him playing in the middle of the night. They thought he had gone to bed, but Levi did not notice how late it was. His grades are falling too. Last year, he made straight A’s, but this semester, he is barely making C’s. Levi’s parents are concerned, and they think he might have a video game addiction.

What is commonly referred to as a video game addiction, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) labels, “internet gaming disorder.” The DSM-5 calls for more study before labeling it as an official addiction, but one thing is already known: some people have difficulty regulating their video game play.

If your child is having difficulty controlling his or her gaming, you are not alone. It is estimated that 1 in 10 gamers ages 8-18 struggle with compulsion. Many adults struggle as well. In fact, 12-step programs have been formed to help gamers. Many people are also looking to counseling or therapy for support.

Thriveworks Charlotte offers counseling for internet gaming disorder because we know it cause problems in people’s lives. We also know people can change; they can take back control of when and how long they play video games.

The Signs of Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction—or internet gaming disorder—often involves an emotional attachment to a particular game or an online avatar. As the connection grows, people often are unable to control their impulses and their gaming habits.

The following lists diagnostics given by the DSM-5 as signs that someone may have an internet gaming disorder:

  • Obsession: Thinking about gaming all the time, even if they are not playing.
  • Tolerance: Gaming for longer periods of time and more often to reach a level of satiety.
  • Avoidance: Escaping from real-world challenge, difficulties, and problems through video games.
  • Skewed priorities: Spending more time and effort on videos games than family, friends, career, and/or education.
  • Withdrawal: Going through irritability, moodiness, depression, or restlessness when attempting to curb or quit gaming.
  • Deceit: Lying to family and friends about one’s gaming habits.
  • Escape: Trying to soothe difficult emotions (shame, guilt, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, boredom, depression, and more) by playing video games.

As parents look for signs of video game addiction in their children, they should note the previous list, but also look for the following:

  • Drowsiness and lethargy throughout the day.
  • Waning interest in activities and friends.
  • Unfinished school assignments.
  • Playing video games alone.
  • Lowering grades.

People may struggle with a mild, moderate, or severe form of internet gaming disorder based upon the number of symptoms presented.

What Causes Internet Gaming Disorder?

Researchers are still studying the many factors that could cause internet gaming disorder, and one possible factor is the way video games are written. Social networking games, mobile games, and role-playing games often utilize compulsion loops (also called core loops) within their narratives.

Compulsion loops function by giving players a challenge and a reward. Each reward serves two purposes. First, the reward releases dopamine in a person’s brain connecting the gaming experience with the feeling of pleasure. Second, the reward links into the next challenge, luring players further into the game.

Monster Hunter utilizes compulsion loops in its narrative. The challenge given to players is to hunt and slay monsters. The reward for doing so is receiving greater powers that allow players to hunt more monsters. With each reward, players are looped into another challenge while their brain is also releasing dopamine, telling them it is a pleasurable experience.

Compulsive Gaming: Seeking out Help

Anyone who has struggle with a behavioral addiction or an impulse control disorder knows the devastating these can bring into someone’s life, and internet gaming disorder is no different. Some of the harm compulsive gaming can cause includes:

  1. Driving loved ones away because of excessive time spent gaming or lies about gaming.
  2. Experiencing physical problems such as Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, poor eating habits, dry eyes, irregular sleep, neglected hygiene, headaches, and back pain.
  3. Growing emotional problems such as anxiety or depression.

Do you recognize the symptoms of video game addiction in yourself or in your child? If so, you are not alone. Many people are struggling to regulate their video game play, and many people are reaching out for the help they need. Help is available. Thriveworks Charlotte offers counseling for video game addiction, and we have appointments available.

When you call our office, a person will answer. New clients often meet with their counselor within a day or a few days of their call. There are no waitlists. We offer evening and weekend sessions. We also work with many insurance companies.

If it is time to see a mental health professional for your or your child’s gaming habits, we are ready for you. Call Thriveworks Charlotte today.

Thriveworks Counseling Charlotte

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Gabrielle Montez

Gabrielle is an amazing therapist. She is very empathetic to her clients and their needs. She can help you through what ever you are going through. Schedule with her! You will not be disappointed.
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Highly recommend

I have had the pleasure of working with Clair Crow professionally and can attest to what an incredible therapist she is! She has a calm demeanor and creates safety with her clients. She balances that safety and care with clear boundaries. I highly recommend her and have often referred clients to her for her expertise.
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I've worked with Mrs. Matson for close to a year now and I can say with certainty that she's a great counselor to go to for help with emotional regulation and understanding, grief management, and processing trauma in healthy and beneficial ways. Her use of meditation techniques to get to the root of my emotions and habits have helped me understand so much about myself and why I operate the way I do. I'd definitely recommend her to anyone just starting out looking for a good counselor, or anyone looking for a friendly empathetic professional who listens well and draws from a wealth of information to provide really quality services.
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Good therapist

I have seen Dr. Daniel Stillwell for a year for individual and couples counseling and I trust him immensely. He is a skilled, authentic, and highly competent professional. I’ve also referred him to others and they described the same. Thriveworks staff have been very helpful with insurance and appointments.
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Caring and personal

Adriana Blanco is wonderful. I never felt any judgement from her during our sessions. She is compassionate, firm and extremely knowledgeable. I could not see myself opening up as much with another counselor, thank you for putting her in my path.
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Excellent service. Blair Hamel was so wonderful. She truly cares.
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Great place for healing

This is a very safe place. The therapists and staff are knowledgeable and patient. I have had a really positive experience and I am learning and growing.
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Charlotte has a team of Therapists that are skilled and compassionate. Matt and Kim have taken great care to ensure that client care is a priority. The environment is warm and welcoming. This is a group of Counselors who can really relate to the everyday challenges we all experiences.
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Great people…great office

I am a big fan of Thriveworks! I have known Matt and Kim for some time now and I feel like I have known them forever. They are approachable, helpful, and just great people. Their office is comfortable and inviting. is a place where anyone can find a little peace. Give them a try :)
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Owners have great experience and are caring individuals.
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Not servicing patients

A place/facility that isn’t accepting any new patients. You rave about how you are here to help and treat people but really you aren’t at all. How is some one supposed to get help if you aren’t willing to help them. Very disappointed with Thriveworks and their lack of assisting.
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For my son

The service was fine. We came in for an evaluation for my son Bryant. Mrs. Hamel was professional and seemed to be able to talk with Bryant although his lips sometimes get in the way of being understood by others.
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Thriveworks Counseling & Child Therapy Charlotte

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