How do Rehab Clinics Treat Computer Game Addiction?

By Karen Mitchell. Published on 28-March-2019

A far cry from the early days of video gaming in the 1970s, currently the computer game industry is a billion dollar business. With profits often far greater than the top-grossing films annually.

Most people play computer games to reduce stress, spend time with family and friends or relax. When used for such purposes video games are hardly a harmful form of entertainment.

Research consistently shows that the majority of gamers (including kids, teens, and adults) can keep their computer gaming habits under control. And often avoid gaming affecting their lives negatively.

Unfortunately, there are people for whom computer games can evolve from simply being a harmless activity to a serious addiction. Although the research on the exact percentage of gamers who develop an addiction is often inconsistent, it is estimated to be between 5 and 10%.

Since there are millions of video gamers, even the assumption of only 5% becoming addicted suggests that there are hundreds or even tens of thousands of people who could be actively experiencing computer game addition.

So how do rehab clinics treat computer game addiction? Below are a few treatment methods used.

Inpatient intervention programs

Inpatient intervention programs typically have dedicated teams of mental health professionals whose sole focus is on beating computer game addiction. These programs usually require the patient to stay at the treatment center for at least one month. Not surprisingly, program fees are often very high (costing about $20,000 or even more). This makes such an option limited to only a few families because not everybody can afford such an expense.

Wilderness therapy

Similar to inpatient intervention, wilderness therapy is also very expensive and normally requires the addict/client to leave his or her home for one month or more. It involves living at an outdoor group location and access to video games is banned. The individual also has very limited access to electronic gadgets and technology in general. The treatment team helps the game addict to develop healthier interpersonal relationships, increase their confidence, and set long and short term goals.

One on one counseling with a psychologist or mental health professional

Some people seek a therapist to address computer game addiction. Typically, cognitive behavioral therapy is the treatment method of choice. It is always best to choose a counselor/psychologist who has experience working with internet and/or computer game addicts. But if such a person is not available, the other good option would be a counselor familiar with the world of online gaming. And one who would be willing to consider that computer game addiction can and does exist (there are therapists who would not entertain such an idea).

Family therapy

Family therapy is very helpful for children and teenagers addicted to computer gaming. It normally involves the therapist closely examining the whole family system and interconnected family dynamics. The therapist then creates a treatment plan which incorporates all the family members and not just the one person identified as being the computer game addict. On the other hand, family therapy is very rare for adults addicted to computer gaming. However, couple’s counseling could be an option for a married couple or those in long term relationships.

Computer game addiction books

By far, self-help books on computer game addiction are the most affordable form of treatment for video game addicts. They can help the person assess how video games have impacted their life, evaluate benefits of change, and provide step by step strategies to help them develop much healthier gaming habits. Plus, computer game addiction books allow the individuals to work from the privacy and comfort of their homes, and at a pace which fits in with their school, work and family commitments.

Despite the fact that computer game addiction is not recognized as an addiction by many individuals and institutions, it is very much present in so many communities and it is negatively affecting how people interact with others and the world around them.

For those who recognize and are frustrated with computer game addiction, it is never too late to seek help. Whether it is for yourself, a family member or a friend, the methods mentioned above are effective and one or a combination of two or three could be the answer to your “problem”.

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