Is Video Game Addiction Real?

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Now that school has started and the days appear shorter, many parents have expressed concerns about the amount of time their kids have spent playing video games during the summer. Will these longs hours spent staying out of the heat and playing online games with their friends translate to lost study time during the school calendar? Yes, there is such a thing as video game addiction. It’s real, and there is even a medical diagnosis for it!

Video game addiction is not limited to teenagers and many adults, primarily males, also spend countless hours online with their friends. It is also called Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). While there are differing opinions on whether gaming is beneficial or detrimental to one’s social skills development, one point is clear. Your body goes through several physiological changes during addictive video game use which is defined as (6-12 hours per week).

There have been several studies in Taiwan, China, and San Diego medical centers on video gaming addiction and they suggest potential health concerns involving neural function similarities akin to substance addiction, inhibition, and decision making functional impairment, impaired cardiorespiratory coupling (CRC), and altered gray matter density. Many of these studies also express concern that gaming addiction could be a precursor to other forms of addiction, including opiates and alcohol. There is also ongoing research about the connection between IGD and addiction to pornography.

Our treatment plan incorporates a comprehensive approach including bloodwork, both a physiological and psychological evaluation and ongoing counseling. Counseling has been shown to not only be effective for the patient but just as effective for the family members ( i.e., parents).

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