Teen Gaming Addiction Description:
Teen Gaming Addiction is a behavioral disorder in which teens are constantly thinking about and/or playing video games, to the point where it disrupts numerous other areas of the teens’ lives.
Teen Gaming Addiction Symptoms:
Teen Gaming Addiction is most common among young adult males. While gaming has become a huge industry and is extremely common among many adolescents, what marks Teen Gaming Addiction is the way in which the addiction negatively affects other areas of the teen’s lives. For instance, it’s common for teens with Gaming Disorder to be struggling in school, to have tension in their peer relationships and family dynamics, and to have trouble following up on responsibilities. Even in instances where teens are aware that they need to stop playing (or thinking about playing) in order to meet a certain need, they’re still unable to control their addiction.
Teens with gaming addiction also tend to struggle with social interaction and maintaining peer relationships. This, coupled with their anxiety, will often cause them to withdraw from others, and often the games will end up being the alter-reality in which they seek refuge. The most common games that teens become addicted to are the MMORPG games (Massive Multi-Player Online Role Playing Games.) Because these games are highly interactive and can creative a sort of alternate community, often teens will withdraw into these spaces to feel a sense of connection. Unfortunately, while the games do provide a sort of “safe space” in which teens can interact with others without being judged, the gaming time tends to make teens miss out on necessary development of interacting with others, which can have negative effects, both socially and developmentally.
It’s very important to note that it’s common for teen gaming addiction to be present as a co-occurring disorder, such as a mood disorder like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. While the gaming behaviors may initially arise as a form of teens escaping their current negative feelings, eventually it will often become a source of stress and anxiety itself.
Teen Gaming Addiction Treatment:
At Paradigm San Francisco, we work with teens to address the behavioral aspects of teen gaming addiction, as well as the underlying emotional stressors and factors at play. Therefore, we immediately work with teens during teen gaming addiction treatment in discontinuing their gaming habits, with the goal of supporting teens to reduce and manage their preoccupation with the games. At the same time, we also want to help them process and identify how their behaviors are connected with their moods; what kinds of stress or emotional pain they’re dealing with; what sorts of stressors they’re wrestling with; and what kinds of changes they can make, to improve the other areas of their lives. In this way, we’re not just treating gaming as an illness in itself, but also as a symptom of other underlying things. This results in more thorough, lasting recovery and healing.
Paradigm San Francisco:
Paradigm San Francisco is a residential teen treatment center, providing mental health and substance abuse treatment, including teen gaming addiction treatment. At Paradigm San Francisco, we take a holistic approach to treatment, diagnosing and treating each teen individually, and addressing all aspects of his or her health and well-being.