Columbia SC Video Game Addiction Counseling

Interventions for Video Game Addiction in Columbia, SC—Therapy and Counseling

Liam’s parents are concerned. A year ago, he would come home from school, do his homework, and then race off on his bike to meet friends. They know it has been a tough year for Liam, moving from elementary school to middle school. They thought he would adjust by now, but he has not. Liam plays video games all afternoon and into the evening. He is not doing his homework, and Liam’s English teacher called to say he has fallen asleep in class twice this week. Liam’s parents are not sure how to help him, and they are concerned that he has a video game addiction.

Mental health professionals are studying what people commonly call video game addiction. While there is much more to learn, many things are clear: a significant amount of people struggle to regulate their video game play. The signs and symptoms they display with their gaming is similar to other impulse control addictions like gambling.

Just as there are support groups and therapies for addictions, interventions are being developed to help people who struggle with gaming. Twelve-steps programs such as Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous and Online Gamers Anonymous are based upon Alcoholic Anonymous. Counseling practices are also seeing more and more clients, helping them develop the skills to control their gaming habits.

Thriveworks Columbia sees many clients who know that video games are taking over their lives. Our therapists have guided them to take back control from gaming.

Video Game Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

When people talk about video game addiction, they are often speaking of the official diagnosis of internet gaming disorder. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) gives signs and symptoms for internet gaming disorder, but it also calls for more study officially calling it an addiction.

The following list outlines the DSM-5’s diagnostics for internet gaming disorder. In each sign, there is a common theme: control. The main question is whether people can control their video game use or whether video game play control their lives. How can people know the difference? If they display the following behaviors, they may have lost control of their gaming. They may have mild, moderate, or severe internet gaming disorder:

  • Trying to curb use or quit playing but being unable to sustain control.
  • Deceiving family members, friends, employers, and/or counselors about one’s game use.
  • Being consumed, obsessed, and preoccupied with gaming, both when playing and when not.
  • Feeling withdrawal symptoms such as moodiness, irritability, aggressiveness, depression, or restlessness when unable to game.
  • Seeking relief from difficult emotions (sadness, loneliness, depression, guilt, shame, anxiety, disappointment, and more) though video game play.
  • Prioritizing gaming over real-world opportunities to connect with loved ones or to advance one’s career or education.
  • Developing a tolerance to gaming—playing longer to feel the same level of satisfaction.
  • Distracting oneself from life problems or responsibilities with video games.

It is estimated that 10 percent of gamers ages 8-18 have a dependency upon video games. Parents should look out for these signs in their children in addition to the previously listed symptoms:

  • Drowsiness and sleepiness at school.
  • Gaming by themselves.
  • Dropping grades.
  • Incomplete home work.
  • Quitting or lost interest in activities they once enjoyed.

Compulsive Online Gaming and Real-life Disruptions

Just as a gambling addiction can lead to devastating consequences in a person’s life, so can internet gaming disorder. If left untreated, emotional, physical, and relational difficulties may result:

  1. Physical – Compulsive video game play may result in Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, neglected hygiene, headaches, irregular sleeping habits, dry eyes, and irregular eating habits.
  2. Relational – When people lie about their video game use or choose time gaming over time with loved ones, they can cause great relational harm to their friends and family.
  3. Emotional – If a person numbs difficult emotions with video games, these emotions are not resolved. Instead, they may grow worse the longer they are unaddressed.

Internet Gaming Disorder Counseling at Thriveworks Columbia

As you read through the symptoms and signs of internet gaming disorder, did you recognize any? Maybe you are struggling. Maybe your child is. Men, women, boys, and girls can struggle with their impulse control regarding video games. It affects the lives of many people, but many people are also finding support and help from mental health professionals. You are not alone.

If you are ready to talk with a counselor, our professionals are ready to listen. We work with teens and adults. Our office has done what we can to make scheduling an appointment as easy as possible.

When you call our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. Many new clients have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We also accept many forms of insurance.

Let’s work together to take back control of your or your child’s video game habits. Call Thriveworks Columbia today.

Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

People Love Our Providers!

Overall Rating: 5★★★★★ based on 10 5 1 10 reviews. See all reviews
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Good people.

Everyone is very nice and are really easy to talk to!
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Debra Maxwell is Awesome!

Debbie has helped me effectively manage the stress in my current work environment. She has also provided me with practical real-life applications to help me work toward my immediate and long-term goals. I am fortunate to have Debbie as a therapist!
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia


Debbie is such an amazing person to talk to and she helped me through so much in the past year. She has helped me to understand myself and work through my problems. Absolutely amazing :)
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Former Employee

Mrs. Anna Gantt-Gordon has an exceptional personality and attitude in working with clients. She goes the extra mile to advocate and encourages others. Great to work with.
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Faculty & Service

I highly recommend Thriveworks! The service from the faculty is surperb from the front office to the life coaches & counselors!! I have been going to Thriveworks for 3 years now and, I absolutely love it! They don't treat you like a number like the other places do! If you or someone you know needs couciling then call Thriveworks Mon-Sat! Yes, I said Saturday! They will help you in anyway they can to make you see the light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you Thriveworks for all of the services y'all have provided me with and still do! Without of all of you I don't know where I would be today!
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Wonderful People

From the moment I first walked through the doors, I have been treated with respect, and care. I feel so at ease with all the people I have met there. I cannot recommend this team of mental health care providers enough!
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

Great People who care!

I was having a hard time with my partner and was ready to give up, but we took a chance after some research and found the help we really needed. Sometime you need someone to sit, listen, and guide you. Thank You!
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia


It was difficult asking for help, but the staff and therapist ensured that I was comfortable and made it the best decision. I plan to continue going again.
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia


Caring and Intellegent professionals who care about you and are very successful at what they do.
Thriveworks Counseling Columbia

will never leave thriveworks!!

Absolutely love and the staff! They genuinely care about me and my family! We are not an instance claim.or a case number, we are individuals and treated as such! I would never recommend another theraputical office to anyone else.! I wish I could give 10 stars because they deserve it!!!! HIGHLY recommend to anyone seeking services!
See fewer reviews

Thriveworks Counseling

Schedule your first appointment with a Thriveworks Counselor or Life Coach!

  • 1501 Main St #140-C
    Columbia, SC 29201

  • Mon-Fri:7AM-9:30PM

It’s Time to Start a Relationship with a Thriveworks Counselor

It’s not easy, but we’re extremely selective about the counselors, psychologists, and coaches that join our practice. Experience a provider with skill and passion for helping clients make meaningful advances in their lives, relationships, careers, and happiness.

Get Started Today!

Join the movement — gain access to expert mental health tips and discussions, delivered directly to your inbox.