Many parents have felt the exasperation of trying to pry their son away from a video game. For some adolescents, video games become more than a hobby or distraction. They become an uncontrollable compulsion and have negative impacts on their lives. It can be difficult for individuals to learn how to stop gaming addiction.
Understanding Gaming Addiction
The roots of gaming addiction is the effect of playing and winning on the brain. It triggers the release of dopamine, a chemical capable of producing an exhilarating rush of energy and elevating a player’s mood. It is the same trigger that appears in individuals dealing with other addictive behaviors like drug or alcohol abuse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognized gaming disorder as a formal medical condition in the 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The effects of compulsive gaming can cause adolescents to neglect other obligations like school or activities to which they were previously committed. They may start letting relationships with friends lapse or neglect personal hygiene.
One of the reasons that people may become addicted to gaming is due to the design of modern games. Game designers make them challenging enough to encourage a player to keep going, but not so tricky that they quit and move on to something else. It makes it harder for adolescents to find a way how to stop gaming addiction.
Recognizing the Signs of an Addiction to Gaming
Many people play video games without issue. Some educators have credited them with expanding the imagination and creativity of students. However, six to 15 percent of that population end up falling into compulsive behavior.
There are emotional warning signs an adolescent may exhibit, of which parents should be aware of:
- Showing restlessness of seeming irritated when not playing video games
- A preoccupation with their next video game session, or an inability to focus on interest other than video games
- Being dishonest about the amount of time spent playing video games
- Isolating themselves from family activities to devote more time to video games
Those addicted to gaming may also exhibit physical warning signals:
- Seeming tired all the time
- Suffering from headaches or even migraines because of the constant eye strain
- The development of carpal tunnel syndrome from overexertion of a mouse or controller
Adolescents who find themselves unable to learn how to stop gaming addiction can develop a sleep disorder. They may also end up with diet issues from not eating enough because they do not want to take a break from gaming.
Longer-term effects include academic problems and an inability to focus on goals for the future. The expense of purchasing new games can drain what little financial resources they have and lead them to more desperate behavior to get more funds.
The most significant sign that a fun hobby has become a more severe obsession is the inability to stop. If an adolescent is unable to follow commands to cut back on their gaming time, it may be that they need professional treatment.
Gaming Addiction Help
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery provides a gaming addiction treatment center North Carolina to help male adolescents between the ages of 14 to 17 learn how to stop gaming addiction. We understand how difficult it can be to overcome any addiction alone.
Our staff helps with getting through the withdrawal stage that typically occurs when someone stops playing. We teach our clients how to deal with emotions like depression, boredom, and anger in a safe way. Our center offers various forms of therapy, including group, family, and wilderness. We also help clients dealing with other underlying issues to aid in learning how to stop gaming addiction.