Grand Rapids Video Game Addiction Therapy

Video Game Addiction in Grand Rapids, MI—Counseling and Therapy

Miles and his college buddies used to play video games around the clock. After graduation, most of them moved to different cities, and with full-time jobs, they mostly stopped playing—except for Miles. He still plays throughout the night a few times a week. He has tried to cut back, but the hours he spends gaming inevitably increase. Miles wants to stop. He sees colleagues who were hired with him being promoted while he feels stuck. Miles wonders what else he can do and if he might be addicted to video games.

Along with Miles, many other people are struggling to regulate their video game use. More research is being conducted to understand whether compulsive gaming fits the same clinical categories as other behavior based addictions such as gambling, but several things are clear: the symptoms for compulsive gaming are very similar to those of addiction and so are the treatments.

Based upon the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, several 12-step groups have formed that address gaming such as Online Gamers Anonymous and Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous. People are also turning to therapy to regain control of their gaming.

Thriveworks Grand Rapids video game addiction counselors have worked with many clients who need help regulating their video game play. We have worked with children, teens, and adults, and we love seeing them find freedom and balance.

What Exactly Is Video Game Addiction?

What people normally talk about as a video game addiction, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) formally labels internet gaming disorder and includes in the section, “Conditions for Further Study.” While the DSM-5 acknowledges that mental health professionals need more information on internet gaming disorder, it also acknowledges that much is known. The following are symptoms of internet gaming disorder:

  • Lying to friends, family, and accountability partners about gaming habits.
  • Obsessively thinking about games.
  • Developing a tolerance to gaming—playing for more and more time to feel satiated.
  • Alleviating difficult emotions such as anxiety, loneliness, boredom, guilt, sadness, shame, grief, or fear by playing video games.
  • When trying to stop gaming or when unable to play, experiencing withdrawal—moodiness, irritability, restlessness, or depression.
  • Playing video games to avoid solving real-life problems and challenges.
  • Trying to stop without success.
  • Choosing to game over pursuing time with loved ones or professional/educational opportunities.

In addition, parents should pay particular attention if their children or teens display the following:

  • Falling grades.
  • Drowsiness at school.
  • Unfinished homework.
  • Giving up activities they normally enjoy.
  • Playing video games by themselves.

The underlying theme of these symptoms is control: do people have control over their video game habits or have video games taken control of their lives? Depending upon how many symptoms people present, they may have severe, moderate, or mile internet gaming disorder.

How Does Compulsive Gaming Start?

There are still many unanswered questions about why and how internet gaming disorder is caused, but many people believe that the way video game narratives are written is a contributor—especially core loops. Many social media games, massively multi-media online role-playing games (MMORPG), and mobile games utilize core loops—a system of challenges with rewards that interconnect to the next challenge.

This is how core loops work: the game presents a task. When players complete it, their reward helps them complete the next task, drawing them deeper into the narrative. With each reward, dopamine is also released in their brain. The dopamine solidifies the player’s association between the game and the experience of pleasure.

Monster Hunter is one game, of many, that employs these loops. Players hunt and battle monsters (the challenge). When they defeat a monster, they receive that monster’s powers (the reward). With new powers, they can battle fiercer monsters (the reward loops into the next challenge). Players’ brains also release dopamine with every reward, making the experience pleasurable.

Counseling for Internet Gaming Disorder

Compulsive gaming can cause serious harm in people’s lives. They may experience physical, relational, and emotional challenges as a result of gaming:

  • Physically: many gamers struggle with dry eyes, severe headaches, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, poor hygiene, irregular eating habits, back pain, and sleep disturbances.
  • Relationally: irresponsible behaviors such as lying, overspending, or choosing gaming over time with loved ones can drive a wedge in relationships.
  • Emotionally: when people turn to video games as a release for emotional pain, the pain is never resolved and healed. In fact, it may grow worse.

If you recognize the symptoms and the effects of internet gaming disorder, it may be time to reach out for professional help. If you are ready, so is Thriveworks Grand Rapids.

When you call our office, a scheduling specialist will answer. If you call today, you likely will see a therapist tomorrow. Many new clients have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We offer weekend and evening sessions. We also accept many insurance plans.

Let’s get started. Call Thriveworks today.

Thriveworks Counseling Grand Rapids

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Overall Rating: 5★★★★★ based on 23 5 1 23 reviews. See all reviews
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Angel

★★★★★
Angel was the sweetest person! I’m so glad I chose this place for help! I felt like a crazy person at first but she made me feel like I was just normal and just going through a lot! I really appreciate angel!
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So Thankful

★★★★★
Thriveworks is a blessing. I got an appointment with a counselor within a week. Margaret Rose was wonderful. She was kind and insightful and I felt safe with her. I highly recommend Thriveworks Grand Rapids
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Denise-NP

★★★★★
My son saw Denise for the first time recently and she was great. She seemed very well informed in every area and so willing to help my son with his anxiety. She actually spent time with us and seemed to care. I'm so glad we found her.
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Denise Skonieczny NP

★★★★★
I was in need of a psychiatrist for chronic depression and anxiety. I came across thrive having only a 4 month wait instead 9 to 12 month wait with any other psychiatrist. This was wonderful news. I met Denise as my clinician. She is very empathetic very knowledgeable. She has helped me alot sine my first vist. She is very dedicated to her patients which I truly appreciate. I would highly recommend her for any psychiatric needs. I think she goes above and beyond her role. She is a caring individual. There should be more people like Denise. She needs to be recognized for her work.
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Wonderful

★★★★★
I am so pleased with my therapist, Lori. She does an outstanding job. When I read her specialties online I knew I had the right person, but when I met her for the first time I was convinced. I’ve raved about her to numerous people and have recommended Thriveworks a few times to people I know - everyone could use a Lori in their lives to help sort things out. The old adage comes to mind: “if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, if you teach a man to fish he will eat for a lifetime.” I am learning the skills to live and navigate life circumstances. I am calmer, happier and better off than I was when I first walked through the door. I’ve been given a gift and I am most grateful for all her help.
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No compassion

★☆☆☆☆
I saw Nancy. I specifically asked for someone who SPECIALIZES in domestic abuse. I am in an abusive relationship and she kept telling me "it's your choice to stay." She always questioned why I felt things or did things, like I should have this all figured out. I'm seeking therapy because I feel like I cannot leave and I know that's not a good thing. She had no compassion for what I have been through and just said it's my choice. No addressing the pain I've been through and how I have been affected by this. I feel like I can't leave because I feel like I would fall apart if I left, but I feel like I'm dying inside the relationship. This is a whole process that occurs over a long period of time. I have no self esteem, I have tried to leave and there are so many threats and manipulation, etc. I get shit from everyone about leaving, like its as simple as that for me. I wanted compassion from a counselor. I needed validation of my feelings, not another person telling me that I choose to live like this, like I want my life to be a living hell. I realize that I do make this choice ultimately, but there is so much more to this situation and I needed to process it. I am a doormat to everyone and she just asks why I do this. I NEED TO FIGURE OUT WHY and how to change! Her tone and questioning made me feel like she was being judgemental. She is a nice person, but she is not therapeutic. I couldn't move on with her after this. It felt like she was invalidating my feelings just like the rest of the world, like nothing I feel is real and I'm crazy. I shut down. I got a letter about being non compliant, that's why. It was no longer a priority for me to go and get treated like that. She never tried to help me process my feelings, just to say positive phrases to myself and eat healthy and exercise. This stuff is good, but doesn't help me deal with the things I have been through.
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Awesome!

★★★★★
I have nothing but good things to say about my therapy with Lori. I was hesitant to begin a therapy regimine without knowing anything about the therapist. After the first session I knew I had found the right person. Lori is so adept at pinpointing the problems and gives very useful ideas of how to handle them. She is very personable and easy to talk with. I will miss these sessions but I have the confidence to know I have the tools to deal with whatever comes my way. I am a much happier person!
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All is well!

★★★★★
All is well!
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Fantastic. Look forward to future sessions

★★★★★
Fantastic. Look forward to future sessions with my son!
Thriveworks Counseling Grand Rapids

My therapist is amazing

★★★★★
My therapist is amazing she listens to everything I say she is very nice and kind I would recommend her to anybody that needs help i am so blessed to have her
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Good grasp of my problem.

★★★★★
Good grasp of my problem.
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Very professional

★★★★★
Very professional. Counselor is engaging and helpful.
Thriveworks Counseling Grand Rapids

I actually did not get to

★★★★★
I actually did not get to bring in my daughters due to a personal issue, but when I spoke with their therapist over the phone she was very helpful and although she isn’t my therapist she talked to me about my issue and helped me calm down preventing a panic attack that was starting. I am very thankful to her and will be rescheduling my daughters to see her.
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Everything was great.

★★★★★
Everything was great. Alot of information given
Thriveworks Counseling Grand Rapids

I look forward to

★★★★★
I look forward to working with Jason.
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Lori is amazing.

★★★★★
Lori is amazing. Relatable, fluid conversation. Going back next week!
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Amazing availability

★★★★★
The therapists availability is amazing. The scheduling was smooth as well as paperwork. Thank you!
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Work Wonders

★★★★★
I've had one lesson so far and I can already tell that this place is going to work wonders.
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Enjoyed

★★★★★
I enjoyed having my visit at your location.
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Highly Satisfied

★★★★★
My meetings with my therapist were thought provoking but humorous. We clicked together the first time I met her ten years ago. As she moves on, I know that I am able to move forward also.
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Integrity!

★★★★★
Grand Rapids is an awesome place, filled with caring employees and overflowing with integrity. You can be sure that you are in good hands, and will see great changes in your life after a few sessions with these counselors.
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Wonderful

★★★★★
is wonderful - the office is beautiful, the therapists are amazing and everyone makes you feel so comfortable. Thank you, thank you!
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Great Therapy!

★★★★★
You won't find a better therapist than Olja Haglund! She moved here recently from another practice where I originally was her patient and I "moved" here with her. If you are looking for a therapist who will give you what you need, not what you want, look no further....I highly recommend and the professionals who work here!
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Thriveworks Counseling

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  • 710 Kenmoor Ave SE Suite 100
    Grand Rapids Charter Township, MI 49546

  • Mon-Fri:7AM-9:30PM
    Saturday:7AM-6PM
    Sunday:8AM-5PM

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