Gaming and internet addiction are an increasingly common issue that touch many of us.
From the clinician’s perspective we are seeing more cases across different age groups and social backgrounds.
With the advent of technology, diverse online gaming platforms and accessibility from all technological devices, the impact of gaming addiction on mental and physical health is gaining significant traction among service providers and clinical researchers. It is now recognized that gaming addiction is a problem that does not discriminate ages, gender and culture. Other co-morbid mental health conditions alongside gaming/internet addiction are becoming more common.
Individuals struggling with internet and gaming addiction commonly face difficulties in many psycho-social issues including sleep disturbances, mood difficulties including depression, anxiety, restlessness, irritability, physical health, and concerns (e.g., decline in personal hygiene, obesity). In addition, there are other negative impacts on daily functioning related to gaming addiction such as disruptions to lifestyle, giving up on other pleasure activities, disruptions in educational and occupational responsibilities, financial difficulties, family and relationship conflicts. Gaming addiction results in multi-faceted consequences. There are other negative impacts like social withdrawal, low self-esteem and self-worth, these are closely related to toxicity online and cyberbullying.
Treating gaming addiction means that the therapist and client work toward more than just managing screen time and screen time detox. The treatment is a process that takes on many aspects, requires much patience, and takes time for the recovery to take hold. Parents and families need to take on a collaborative approach with the mental health professional in working towards supporting the person(s) struggling with gaming/internet addiction towards their recovery.
There is no treatment that is one-size that fits all.
Individually tailored treatment including evidence-based approaches including cognitive behavior therapy and working with the family system is available for support.