Teen Video Game Addiction

Video Games have been a favored pastime for many teenagers. Teens love to hide in a world of imagination, especially in the video gaming world, where its risks and challenges are exciting and thrilling for them. Computer video games entice teens to remain engaged for hours, oblivious to the reality of life happening around them.

Until recently, teen video game addiction was not considered a disorder. However, the American Medical Association has been revising research works to determine whether or not it can be considered a disorder. In fact, psychologists believe that if any game or device etc interferes with relationships, education, family life or normal life, then it can be considered an addiction disorder.

Causes of Teen Video Game Addiction

During the adolescent years, a teenager often struggles to make friends, to form and create his/her identity, to adjust to social norms, to balance hormonal changes and to manage the social pressures, homes pressures and school pressures in our ever demanding world. Many also struggle with the controlling power and being answerable to authority. Video games are interesting, colorful, attractive and engaging. Teenagers are easily hooked to the world of video gaming because it is an easy distraction from the challenges of daily life and the outside world. Furthermore, they are challenged to achieve certain scores and game levels, often succeeding, allowing them to feel accomplished and productive, which is often more than they feel or actually achieve in their real lives.

Effects of Teen Video Game Addiction

Video game addiction may lead to various issues related to the physical and social life of a teen. Some of the consequences are:

  • Migraines: Playing video games requires a high level of concentration and stress affecting the eyes and the brain, leading to severe migraines.
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Continuous play with the game controller may cause severe damage to the wrist nerve.
  • Sleeping difficulty: Teenagers who play for long hours over stimulate their brain resulting in sleep difficulties and changes to their natural circadian rhythms.
  • Poor nutrition and exercise: Teenagers with a video game addiction may ignore their nutritional and exercise needs, as their priority is always to make time for the video games.
  • Lack of Social interaction- Teenagers with a video game addiction prefer to spend time alone, playing in their imaginary gaming worlds, rather than interacting with family members and friends. They stay aloof and lose natural social skills, and regular social normative behavior.

Signs and Symptoms of Teen Video Game Addiction

Symptoms of teen video game addiction are often similar to those symptoms associated with any other type of addictive behavior or addiction disorder. These may include:

  • Constantly thinking and talking about video games
  • Always in a hurry to play video games
  • Recreating earlier gaming instances and planning for gaming wins at the next available opportunity
  • Excessive time wasted and spent playing video games
  • Poor performance at school
  • Poor handwriting or project work
  • Losing concentration
  • Isolated from family and friends
  • Less interested in outdoor activities and other social events
  • Frequently investing money for buying games and other equipment
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Negligence in personal hygiene
  • Less care about personal appearance

Treatment at Hillcrest

Teenagers with video game addiction require proper diagnosis and treatment. Hillcrest Adolescent Treatment Center (Hillcrest) is a licensed, residential mental health facility, aiming to help clients become centered and empowered to address their struggles head on and to find the most wholesome path for long-lasting healing, and enable them to maximize their quality of life.

In line with the treatment philosophy and facility mission, Hillcrest provides a range of innovative and creative therapeutic, experiential, and clinical evidence-based treatment options in a natural and peaceful environment, to benefit both mind and body health. Simultaneously, clients are provided with an educational school component, as well as healthy recreational activities, including; library, art, music, and a range of outdoor exercise programs, including tennis and swimming. All healing is guided by dedicated doctoral level medical healthcare professionals and therapists with stellar background and experience. At Hillcrest the road to recovery is real and supported every step of the way for you and your loved one.

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