In July 2018, World Health Organization officials listed video game addiction or extreme gaming as a mental health condition. Classified as a “gaming disorder,” it’s now more critical than ever for parents to understand the warning signs of video game addiction in their children and teens.
Warning Signs of Video Game Addiction
It is important to note, not all children and teens who enjoy games exhibit addictive behaviors. Watch out for the following warning signs of video game addiction to determine if your child is at risk.
1. Isolating from the outside world
While gaming, achieving various accomplishments, such as unlocking new levels or scoring upgrades, activates the pleasure center in the brain. Video games are designed to keep the gamer moving towards those goals, making modern games a never-ending system of possible achievements. If your child becomes addicted to experiencing this pleasure, he or she can begin to isolate themselves from the outside world at an increasing rate, to make more time for gaming.
2. Aggressive or irritable behavior outside of play time
If your child displays aggressive or irritable behavior when they are away from their games for a short period, this could be one of the serious warning signs of video game addiction. An addicted child will likely lie about how much time they spend playing games and will decrease their in-person social interaction.
3. Physical warning signs of extreme gaming
Warning signs of extreme gaming include more than the mental strain on your child; he or she will display physical signs of addiction as well. These symptoms include frequent migraines from too much screen time; a decrease in physical fitness and an increase in fatigue; and the development of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What should you do if your child has a video game addiction?
Dr. Joel Holiner has actively served as a leader in the Dallas/Fort Worth psychiatric community for more than three decades. His team of psychiatrists and psychologists at The Holiner Psychiatric Group in Dallas specializes in addiction treatment. Below is his advice for parents worried about their child’s extreme gaming behavior.
“Even though most people think of addiction as a substance abuse problem, psychiatrists increasingly recognize that gaming addiction is a clinical impulse disorder that also meets the diagnostic criteria for addiction. I have treated an increasing number of patients that have compulsive gaming behaviors that lead to a myriad of life miseries.
Deteriorating school or work performance, relationship issues and even withdrawal symptoms are common. Depression, irritability, anxiety and insomnia are regularly seen. Although excessive gaming may appear harmless, it can ruin lives. The fantasy world of games can lead to escape from the real world, causing isolation and deterioration of real-world relationships and responsibilities.”
To learn more about how to proactively guard against habit-forming addictive behaviors, and removing any current addiction in your life or the life of your child, seek the help of our team of experts at The Holiner Psychiatric Group. We’re here for you, and ready to see you restored to your optimal health. For more info about addiction treatment in Dallas or McKinney, contact us.