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Video Game Addiction

What’s the buzz?

Video game addiction has been a hot topic, since the WHO announced they would be including “gaming disorder” in the ICD. Just this month Prince Harry made headlines when he spoke out about Fortnite, saying, “It’s created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible.”

Prince Harry is not the only one buzzing about video game’s impact. Good Morning America did a special titled “What parents should know about the online survival game Fortnite.” In the clip, Clinical and Sports Psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader talks about the social and interactive component of the game sucking people in. You can watch more in the clip below.

Video games seem to be a growing topic of conversation among parents, teachers, and even political leaders. The buzz around this topic is likely to continue as research continues to come out.

Keywords: Video game addiction; gaming disorder; WHO; Fortnite; addict; addiction

Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Replacement Activity List Made By People in Recovery for Video Game Addiction

Top Replacement Activity List Developed by Mental Health Providers and Former Gamers

 

When choosing an activity, it’s all about intent

Time. It’s a commodity we all have at our disposal. For chronic online video gamers, streamers, tech users, or social media influencers, time offline feels empty and boring. This is one of the reasons why trying to replace acitivites like video gaming, Internet surfing, snap chatting, or streaming with offline activities often fails. For a heavy user, the brain rewards received by your online activity of choice far outweighs the rewards received by engaging in offline activities, even ones that should be rewarding.

Our recommendation is to plan offline activties with an intent in mind. For example, a parent might say, “go outside and play.” Sure, this is an excellent actvity for many reasons. That said, a person whose brain is highly rewarded for online video gaming may feel depressed when offline, and going outside just doesn’t seem to help them feel any better.

Having an intent behind “why” you’re doing a particular activity might make all the difference when participating in even simple activities feels challenging. Each of the activites listed in this guide have an intent behind them. Eating healthier has been shown to lead to less depression. Thus the intent behind the actvity is not only to lesson the amount of time spent online, it’s to reduce your symptoms of depression. When you feel like giving up because it feels boring, you can rise to the challenge when you understand that engaging in the activity over time will improve your mood, and help you feel better.

The following activity list is designed with the mutual intent of reducing time spent online while improving your overall well-being.

First, drop the fantasy reading

In 10 years of working with people in treatment for video game addiction, we have found that one of the first replacement activities they turn to is fantasy reading, fantasy drawing or other related activity. While we pass no moral judgement on fantasy books, or these type of activities, we do suggest for your consideration that these replacement activities are a way for the brain to continue providing the neural stimulation and rewards which was occurring while video gaming. Thus, if you really want to change your online use habits, pick up a self-help book, or engage in non-fantasy related activities.

Suggested replacement reading activities:

  • Self-help books related to ending a tech obsession
  • Read a book in a genre unfamiliar to you to build new neural pathways

 

Second, get moving

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which promote movement:

  • Start by getting outside more
  • Go for a walk
  • Eventually go for a run
  • Join a gym
  • Visit a climbing gym. Ask for a trial lesson.
  • Hit the swimming pool.

Third, start to eat healthier

Online pursuits involve a significant amount of time being immobile; sitting, neck looking down, and body fairly still. The human body is designed to move in order to stay physically healthy. Of all the activties which promote a healthier mind and body, movement tops the list.

Activities which improve healthier eating:

  • Go through your fridge and throw out all the junk
  • De-sugar your environment. 
  • Spend time reading the ingredients on your food labels. 
  • Find a recipe book with food you’ll actually cook
  • Throw out the pop, soda, and energy drinks.
  • Sign up to take a cooking class
  • Invite someone over to cook with you. Making pizza’s together is a good place to start.

reSTART your life.

call 800.682.6934

Is Video Game Addiction Stealing My Child’s Motivation?

Is Video Game Addiction Stealing My Child’s Motivation?

How Do Video Games Affect Motivation, Leading, Potentially to the need for Video Game Addiction Treatment?

Video games may distort a person’s perception of effort, achievement, reward, progress and growth. While the extent of this impact on people could vary, prolonged exposure certainly has the potential to exacerbate these effects (up to 4% of all gamers become addicts, according to a conservative estimate by the World Health Organization last year). This is because video games are created to keep a player’s attention through sustained, instant gratification. There will always be another level to overcome, better armor to find, more items to collect, a score or leaderboard position to beat, etc. At all times throughout the game, there will be multiple achievements and an intertwining, low-effort/high reward dynamic that is in no way reflective of principles of achievement in the real world.

Can Video Games Affect My Child’s Brain, Making Him or Her Vulnerable to Video Game Addiction and the Need for Treatment?

Our brains are constantly changing to our environment, adapting so that it can most optimally operate. The way that the brain changes refers to a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity, the ability to change neural structures as a result of learning and experience. Because of the brain’s ability to adapt, it is possible that video games can condition a mind to learn that growth and progress are instantaneous, sapping the motivation and energy to engage in long-term planning and delayed gratification. If the brain learns that instant gratification through video games satisfy its need for reward, how can energy for sustained effort through long-term, meaningful pursuits ever become realized?

What can I do? When Do I Need to Seek Treatment for Video Game Addiction?

Internet Gaming Addiction is a “pattern of gaming behavior characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences (World Health Organization, 2018).” Like other addictions, significant impairment in educational/occupational pursuits, family involvement, and social/personal functioning across a 12-month span needs to be observed for a diagnosis to be rendered.

If you or a loved one appears to be engaged in chronic gaming, affecting functioning and taking away from the motivation to engage meaningfully in life, treatment may be necessary in order to restore balance, health, and a real sense of growth, reward, and accomplishment.

 

World Health Organization: Gaming Disorder. (2018, September 14). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/features/qa/gaming-disorder/en/

reSTART your life.

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Summer Camps versus Summer Therapeutic Programs.

Summer Camps versus Summer Therapeutic Programs.

Understanding the differences when seeking behavioral change

As you are looking for options for the summer, it is important to know and understand the differences between a summer camp and a summer program. reSTART is in favor of encouraging any activity or behavior that focuses on getting our students outside, active, and away from screens for a certain period of time, but for those students that are looking for specific support around Internet and gaming struggles, it is essential that you know the difference between these two options when considering treatment for video game addiction, screen dependence and mental health concerns.

Lack of Regulation

Summer Camps are generally unregulated and unlicensed. This means that they do not have the same standards such as training requirements or background checks. As a licensed program, we are accountable to the state licensing board and have regular audits for our staff and our facilities. This helps ensure that your child is receiving proper care, support, and attention in a physically and emotionally safe environment.

Summer Intensives at reSTART

The benefit of the reSTART summer program is that you get a shortened version of our propriety, state of the art, experiential program. This program includes in depth assessments, parent coaching, individual and group therapy, family therapy and our unique program design. This design has been developed over 10 years and has been shown to greatly improve the lifestyle and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults struggling with internet and video game problems and co-occurring mental health issues.

Combining Summer Intensive with Summer Camp Fun

reSTART also focuses on a lot of similar elements of your traditional summer camp. We want our students to be out in nature and experience the wonders that the outdoors have to offer. Our students participate in day hikes and overnight camping trips throughout the summer, allowing them that opportunity for connection and getting them out of their element, away from screens, and in an environment focused on positivity and growth.

Enroll early to ensure you have a spot

Late spring and summer is the most popular time of year to enroll at reSTART, so apply early to ensure you’ll have a spot. We look forward to working with our summer families and being apart of their amazing journey. See you this summer!

Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

Addictive video games? What makes the list in 2019

The unknown gamerverse

While it’s relatively easy to recognize the signs of problematic video game use, identifying the games being played is proving to be much more difficult. When parents of troubled teens are asked what games their children play, they often respond with “some shooter game,” or “I’m really not sure.” That said, parents are keen at noticing the ways in which games interfere with academics and daily life. 

What video games are most addictive?

Game developers often pride themselves in producing addictive video games. And players are quick to create lists of addictive games. To this point, a quick Internet search on addictive video games will show countless sites highlighting the top addictive video games of 2019, followed by the most addictive video games of all time.

Briefly, let’s highlight a few MMO, MMORPG, and RPG games which frequently show up on  assessments for those seeking treament.

The following video games made our list:

  • Fortnite
  • Minecraft
  • Hearthstone
  • Overwatch
  • Guildwars2
  • League of Legends
  • Call of Duty
  • World of Warcraft
  • Counter Strike
  • Dota 2
  • Mortal Kombat
  • Grand Theft Auto
  • Elder Scrolls

This list is not exhaustive. In fact, there are thousands of addictive video games on the market.

Rise in Gaming?

More video games are played today than ever before. This rise in gaming worldwide poses difficulties for parents and healthcare professionals alike who are not familiar with the complex nature of video games.

When seeking treatment or help with an addiction, especially one involving digital media, it’s always best to work with a team of specialists rather than a generalist who may have little understanding of industry trends.

Overwhelmed by texts and emails?

Overwhelmed by texts and emails?

It is an understatement to say that the frequency of text messages and emails overwhelming our phones and inboxes leave many of us anxious and distracted. Our evolutionary history has not equipped our brains to respond to and then relax from these interruptions (and at times wonderful connections) in our lives. I have found that my need to create space away from these notifications has become a staple of my mental health. Even better than simple time away, spending time in nature brings the kind of calm that my nerves wait for while I respond to the next email.

Newer research is continuing to discover the profound impact that having or not having connection to the natural environment plays in our mental and physical health. As I cope with the everyday distractions of my technology connected life, I find myself longing for a place where I can hear myself think, allow my body to calm down, and connect to all that is around me. As research about the impacts of nature on our health unfolds, it is becoming clear that nature plays this important role in a way that other interventions are trying to keep up with.

I am grateful that I am able to spend part of my time as a therapist leading others to discover the beauty and calm of the mountains, ocean, and lakes of the Northwest. The picture shown is an image from one of our trips to Mt. Baker last year.

May you, too, discover your sense of calm and plan your next adventure to our home in nature.