What are the Signs of Video Game Addiction?

How can you know if your loved one is suffering from a true addiction to video games? Where is the line drawn between too much gaming and a genuine dependency to the behavior of gaming? Then, if your family member has a true dependency, what do you do to address it?

A key problem of excessive video gaming is that children do not have time for proper socialization; sports activities, playing with friends, and growing and learning in the process. Emotional and social development are hampered. But, that is not all. With so much time spent video gaming, a few hours or more every day, children also neglect homework and other learning activities.

In children who play video games a few hours every day, we see a self-perpetuating cycle develop. While the child plays games, neglecting important social development, he or she finds that making friends and talking to kids of the other gender is overwhelming and intimidating, because of the lack of consistent experience.

Because the now older child, adolescent, or young adult feels socially inept, he or she can sink further into the gaming as an escape and as an artificial form of socialization. They may feel somewhat confident and validated instant messaging with other players of the game. But this is no substitute for the real thing. Thus, most video game addicts have significant social anxiety and a great lack of social skills.

The Center for Online Addiction warns that family members should watch for signs of video game addiction like 1) dishonesty about gaming or the amount of gaming, 2) irritability if attempting to cut down on gaming time, 3) thinking about gaming during the rest of the day, 4) gaming to escape negative emotions or conflict, 5) playing for increasing amounts of time, and 6) increasing social isolation.

If your family member meets some or all of these criteria, there are some things you can do to prevent it from getting any more serious. Keep in mind that while no one overdoses from video gaming, it can get to the point of completely incapacitating someone, if individuals are allowed to persist in that behavior long enough.

Record an accurate log of how much your family member really plays video games. Take note of the problems that surround his or her behavior, like poor social skills, sleep deprivation, etc. Write down the gamer’s reaction to time limits on the gaming. Then, take this information with you when you seek professional help.

Do not consider this a phase or something that will clear up on its own. Most true addictions require professional help to stop the downward spiral and make dramatic changes. Recovery requires changing the way life is lived. Social skills training is an important part of treatment for video game addiction as is teaching healthy coping skills for stress, anger, and boredom.

Call now to learn more about how to get help 1-877-593-6777.

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