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.

2
minute read

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

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.

Discussion

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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