How do you cure video game addiction?

Should video gamers totally abstain from gaming in order to recover from gaming addiction? We look at what the experts recommend and discuss possible recovery strategies for video game addiction here.

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Video game addicts need skills

Children, teens and adults who become video game addicts use video games to alter their moods. Additionally, people who get lost in virtual reality need to learn or re-learn critical social skills so that they can deal with real people in real time. But what do the experts recommend as a treatment regime for video game addiction? And can gaming every become a part of a video game addict’s life again?

Treatment recommendations for video game addiction

1. 90-day abstinence program. Detox from video games can help a person reconnect with their body and mind, and to lessen the lure of fantasy many gamers seek. Additionally, therapeutic boarding schools, treatment centers and/or wilderness camps for teens specialize in treating addiction and behavioral issues may help.

2. Find a psychotherapist. Psychotherapy for video game addiction aims to help an addict recognize the problem on a psychological and emotional level, its negative effects, and provides direction in how to change behaviors. Therapy can also help to educate a video game addict in needed social and communication skills to use in personal relationships.

3. Teach an addict how to live with a computer

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Step 1. No-frills use of the computer. Experts in video game addiction recommend that gaming addicts slowly reconnect with the Internet as a part of recovery. Addicts should set limits for use, including research and social network sites without chat features. An addict then needs to have clear boundaries and rules about games from the moment they are introduced.

Step 2. Create a contract for gaming use. come up with a contract that details what games are played, when, and for how long. Feel free to prohibit play on weeknights or allow it as a reward after work is completed.

Step 3. Track computer use. Parents and loved ones should monitor computer use by placing computers in visible community areas and make everyone aware of how a video game addict uses it. Internet blocks may work for young children, but it’s best to supervise older children and adolenscents with your prescence.

4. Make social activity mandatory. Help video game addicts get connected by requiring they participate in an activity after school or work. Children who compete in sports or participate in group activities like afterschool clubs are less likely to become addicted to video games.

5. Start a 12-step program, if necessary. Like other addictions, video game addiction can be treated with the help of a support group. Groups like Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA) can help.


Like a other addictions (sex, food, etc.), video game addicts need to re-learn healthy behaviors in order to use computers in a meaningful, albeit limited way. I do think that while abstinence may be best in some cases, reintegration with video games is inevitable. Many people experience real joy while playing video games that seems cruel to take away.  What do you think? Can video game addicts ever game in a healthy way again?

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I considered myself addicted to video games in the past. I feel as though I had a minor relapse within the last year. The first time I was able to put it to the side was when I was banned from the site that provided the game. I was so angry at the money and time that I invested and lost for nothing. I was so angry that I began to pursue other things. It was too much work to regain what I had lost.
    TEN years later I restarted the same game. I was devastated when I saw how much money I had spent on it in only six months. Seeing the despair on my husbands face only furthered my resolve to quit. What helps me the most is not that I asked him to take my credit cards, but that I am so proud to show him at the end of each billing period that I have not spent a cent on video games. Not going to the website also helps me.
    I know that the process of recognition and overcoming is different for each user. I know that it can go so far as to interfere with school, family and work now with the presence of smart phones and iPads. For this reason I am attempting to research a root cause for video game addiction in attempt to find a better solution to it in the classroom and workplace. I believe that finding this will help eliminate the need for “internet policing” and allow workers and students to pay more attention to their tasks.

  2. My son is addicted to videos and cannot see why its bad. It is to the point where his depression is severe and he had to spend a week in a hospital. While the doctors there are great, Im not sure that video game addiction will be there specialty. there were no games while he was in and he found something else to do in his spare time which he really enjoyed. Now that he is out, he wants nothing to do with that and its back to the games. We put a limit on the game time, but its apparently not enough. Not sure any amount of restriction would be acceptable to him as with any addict. He doesn’t see the problem and either doesn’t care or realize its an addiction. We will work with his Dr’s to get through this, but any ideas along the way would be helpful.

  3. I know it is hard to detatch yourself from these addictions, as I am one myself, for years I have struggled to lead to different methods of “Detox” as they call it. My tip? ILLUSTRATION, this may seem as a wierd way to put it, but drawing fave things such as characters can really take your mind off crap like games. Video games do sink into your head, and attempt to control you, but don’t give up hope, think of tasks and different sessions you love such as, writing, art, music, and focus on that for the time being……

    I hope this will help, we need creative minds in the world, I am 15, and I belived that due to an exam in 2 weeks I would of failed, but thanks to myself, I have reasons to continue my life on another page, you don’t need crappy therapeutic boarding schools, Ha, makes me laugh, those schools don’t help, the only person that can help is YOU, YOU make decistions….

  4. Hi Anon_Sam. Well, you can do a few things. The first is to educate yourself about the cycle of craving and rewards systems in the brain. And how it relates to gaming. You can look online also for books about gaming addiction and either download them or order hard copies to your door. Another idea would be to consult a certified psychologist who specializes in gaming addiction and can see you on a “sliding scale” basis. How do these options sound?

  5. I have been struggling with gaming addiction for 3 years. It started with a few offline games but then it has grown to a series of online games. I used to be VERY good in school. Now its all just about me passing. I really need help but i cannot afford a therapist. Losing a lot of self confidencer and cant even think straight anymore. What do i do?

  6. Hi Annonymous. Thanks for your message!

    I think that there is definitely hope for someone who is willing to try new things. I know that the options seem limited in your town. And it IS difficult making friends no matter where you are. Badminton sounds cool, but the club just closed down. Sometimes we need to create opportunities for ourselves and hope that others join in. Can you organize a regular meeting with the former members at a new location?

    Also, what kinds of things interest you other than sports? Do you like literature or art or culture?

    Also, if you are trying to take up your time, is there someone around you that needs help? In your family or in your community? Helping people brings a kind of life satisfaction that other activities cannot.

  7. Hi, I’m a video game addict. I would really like to cut down on video games so I instead of needing it, just could enjoy it. Maybe 2-3 hrs a day max. Though my problem is that I have nothing else to take up my time. I have tried soccer for 4 years then i was kicked out of the team, cuz i was too bad at it. I was really trying to get good but just couldn’t get good at it, then i was kicked and basically ruined my world. Got into gaming from there and since then no soccer team wanted me on their team. Well at least the ones nearby. I have tried various sports. I found badminton and enjoy it a lot though the club just closed. And i really want something to spend my time on like spare time. I know u guys will say homework and all that but before i turn on the computer i do my homework. Another problem is that i simply have no friends in my town, and there are no one at my age (14 almost 15). And yes ofc i could invite someone over and all, i sometimes do and we have a great time. Though everytime we need to do stuff it involves money, and i dont really have any and jobs ain’t too easy to get in my age. So please if anyone got some suggestions, then please write to me

  8. I have an addiction to computer games. I want to play one more game. I would play for hours, which causes me to neglect my family and house chores. My hand and arm would get sore, but I would shake it off and keep on playing. Then when I weaned myself off, it takes me about 3 days. I would either sleep it off or outside the house to go do something. My mind would keep thinking about it, and I would talk to myself firmly with God’s help to say “NO!” and go do something else.

  9. i am addicted to gaming. the only reason i hate school is because i want to play video games instead. the things are ruining my life. if i could go back in time i would stop the creation of video games. i joined gymnastics loved it but its not in the summer and its thurs day only.

  10. Well that doesn’t exactly work for many, I’m afraid. You are right about realizing the addiction though. That’s the first step to treating any addiction whatever it may be.

    The next step is to find some way of dealing with the mental and emotional issues that are *causing* the addiction.

    I’m still working on that part…

    Hopefully others who have already gone that route will chime in.

  11. Actually, you don’t need a psychotherapist to do the job. the video game addiction can be cured as soon as you realized you are addicted to it and need help.
    The best cure for a video game addict is the one where he knows for himself that he is an addict. After knowing addiction, the next thing he needs to do is to sell the game or online account he’s addicted to. If he can, just delete it.
    The last step would be finding another thing to take up his time like sports and/or his family.

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