If your teenager seems to be obsessed with playing video games and becomes angry, agitated, or depressed when they are not allowed to play, your teen may have a video game addition. The word addiction is often associated with substances such as alcohol or drugs, but addiction can be in the form of behaviors as well, such as playing video games. Research shows that there may be a biological/physical component of compulsive gaming in that gaming may increase dopamine levels in the brain. There is also the psychological component of video game addition in that it allows people to escape and feel good about life.
As a parent, you may not even fully understand what they are playing. You hear names like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, World of Warcraft, Hearthstone, Minecraft, Dota 2, or League of Legends, but you have no idea how violent, sexually explicit or dangerous the content is on your teen’s developing brain. Multi-player games add a whole new dimension. As a parent you have no idea who your teen’s “friends” are because they only exist in the cyber world. Yet, they communicate with each other using explicit language that you would never allow their friends to say if physically present in your home.
Video game addiction is on the rise and doctors are now just beginning to recognize it as a serious addiction that can contribute to school difficulties, sleep disruption, relationship struggles, and depression. You already know the effects it has had on your relationship with your teen, as you face the daily struggle of limiting his/her gaming time.
The first step is to schedule an individual private consultation appointment with one of our addiction experts. We will be able to tell if your teen is showing signs of an addiction in need of treatment. We will also help you to understand the games that your teen is playing and if they are appropriate for their developmental level. We will work with you and your teen to address the psychological addiction and help you as a parent know exactly what to do on a daily basis to help the situation to improve and get your teen back into real life.