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Gaming Addiction

1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
What is gaming addiction?

Online gaming addiction is as a compulsion to play online games to the detriment of one’s personal life. It is characterized by an inability to stop playing online games, despite interference with relationships, jobs, and everyday activities.

While any type of online game can be addictive, many report an addiction to Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games (MMORPGs). These games are particularly addictive because they are never-ending; success is directly related to the amount of time spent playing. Relationships that result from gaming also strengthen gamers’ compulsions to play.

Like addictions to substances, gaming addiction is triggered by the stimulation of reward circuits in the brain. As tolerance develops, gamers require more and more game time to achieve the pleasure they initially experience. Eventually, gaming results in dependence and addiction.

Who develops gaming addictions?

Individuals who feel lonely, isolated or misunderstood are particularly drawn to the imaginary world of online games and therefore particularly susceptible to online gaming addiction. Online games function as substitutions for real-life interpersonal relationships. They also provide individuals with the opportunity to reinvent themselves (in the form of an avatar or character) in a way that compensates for perceived personal deficiencies. Often, individuals who are addicted to online gaming suffer from mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Gaming addiction may also lead to the development of co-occurring conditions.

Indicators of gaming addiction.

Signs of an online gaming addiction include an inability to cease play, cravings for more gaming, feelings of emptiness, depression, irritability when not gaming, withdrawing from friends and family, interference with work or school, dry eyes, carpal tunnel syndrome and sleep disturbances.

Treating online gaming addiction.

Treatment for online gaming addictions varies, but most plans attempt to treat underlying causes of addiction, such as depression, loneliness, or feelings of social inadequacy. If substance or alcohol abuse is concurrent with gaming addiction, it must be addressed before gaming addiction can be treated.