Gaming Addiction Treatment Services
A gaming addiction is characterised by the excessive or compulsive use of video games to the point that it interferes with a person’s everyday life. The games that carry the highest risk of causing an addiction are massive multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs. There are a variety of mechanisms in MMORPGs that encourage dependency and obsessive usage. Some even employ psychological conditioning principles that seduce the player to play intensively. These games also encourage players to make “friends” and build communities online, which leaves users feeling socially obligated to play.
One particular MMORPG that has proven to be highly addictive is World of Warcraft. In the game, players create an online avatar, before embarking on a comprehensive storyline. This puts players in an alternate world, and many use it as a distraction from their real-life problems. For example, a user may not have many friends in school, but might be popular online, which, ultimately, keeps them going back for more and makes them dependent on the game for social acceptance.
World of Warcraft addiction rehab — or rehabilitation for an addiction to gaming in general — works by taking a user out of their usual gaming environment and routine. This allows an addict to rebuild their life, hobbies and friendships, and resolve any negative problems that led to the initial dependency.
Gaming Addiction Treatment
Research on excessive gaming treatment is still in the early stages, so, at present, there is no definitive cure. However, counselling and other psychological therapies have been proven to help addicts achieve a healthy relationship with gaming, or quit altogether.
Friends and family concerned about a loved one’s gaming activity, but unfamiliar with gaming addiction, may feel a way to cure the addiction is by deleting an individual’s character or destroying their game and data. While they may be trying to help, this can be counterproductive, and it may seem like a sudden death to a virtual ego for the addict. Just like an alcohol or drug addiction, immediate withdrawal will often result in negative repercussions.
Gaming addiction treatment comes in many forms, however, they all generally work to:
- Teach addicts how to recognise irrational and addictive behaviour
- Teach addicts to understand what triggers them
- Reduce or completely eliminate time spent gaming
- Help addicts to understand the harm their addiction is causing to them and those around them
- Teach addicts strategies to prevent relapse
Different forms of therapy will work for different addicts, either individually or in combination, which is why our treatment plans are tailored to each patient. Some of the therapies we use to treat a gaming addiction include:
- Counselling — Addiction counselling aims to help individuals understand and then change their thought processes around their addiction. We use several proven techniques — such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) — to meet the needs of each patient, while moving them towards making behavioural changes that enable them to heal and recover.
- 12-step programme — The goal of a 12-step programme is to allow an addict to understand their addiction and take action to rid themselves of it, one step at a time. The programme can be taken as part of a group or individually.
- Family therapy — Although a gaming addiction is not selective, teens are at higher risk of developing a gaming addiction. It’s important that an addict’s family can understand the addiction and how to help — rather than hinder — progress.
Alongside these therapies, inpatient treatment will help a gaming addict to recover. Attempting recovery in an environment that provides easy access to gaming makes the risk of relapse higher. For long-term success, it is best for addicts to recover in a game-free atmosphere.