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Gaming addiction treatment

Now officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), gaming addiction is a behavioural addiction referring to a pattern of frequent and persistent gaming, despite the negative consequences that this causes, including relationship, financial or work based problems.

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When receiving treatment for gaming addiction at Priory, we are aware that the negative effects of compulsive gaming can be extremely harmful if effective support isn’t sought. This is why we offer a number of treatment methods including behavioural counselling focused on abstinence, self-help groups, and a 12-Step rehabilitation programme. Treatment for gaming addiction can take place as part of our 28-day Addiction Treatment Programme, with the length and type of treatment that you receive, dependent on your unique condition and the severity of your addiction.

Advancement in gaming technology in recent years has led to increasing realism and a heightened sense of immersion into video game worlds. While common perception suggests that children and teenagers spend the most time in virtually crafted worlds, research indicates that just fewer than 50% of adults play video games across devices as wide ranging as televisions and portable devices such as smartphones.

The growing amount of television and online adverts promoting gaming products and streaming services also allows you to take an active part in the community even when you aren’t directly gaming. This can make it very difficult to detach from the world of gaming, meaning neglecting other vital aspects of your life becomes ever more likely.

Treatment for gaming addiction

Treatment for gaming addiction at Priory is similar to the approach that is used for treating people with other addictions such as compulsive alcohol or drug use, with residential, day and outpatient addiction programmes offered.

If you believe that the amount of time that you or a loved one are spending playing computer games is adversely affecting other aspects of life, then we can devise a bespoke treatment programme involving behavioural therapy, self-help groups, and 12-Step rehabilitation programmes if the severity of your addiction is acute.

Gaming addiction is categorised as an impulse control disorder, which means that you may struggle to manage your urge to play video games, and may experience withdrawal symptoms should you not be able to play a game for an extended period of time. It is likely that you will have established an increasingly dependent routine involving an increasing amount of gaming each day, in order to satisfy cravings.

To help you to manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviours relating to gaming addiction, there are a number of therapy and self-help treatments which work towards abstinence and reduction in the amount of time that you spend playing computer games, and instead help you to learn techniques that allow you to direct the urge to play video games into alternative and more positive behaviours.                               

The fact that we use computers extensively in everyday life means that avoiding triggers for playing computer games cannot usually be completely avoided. The following treatment methods are focused on moderating behaviours and creating a level of emotional control which means that you can limit your gaming time to an acceptable amount.

This page was reviewed by Stephanie Chick (FDAP) in July 2020, and is scheduled to be reviewed again in July 2022. To view all Priory gaming addiction specialists, please click here.

Types of treatment for gaming addiction
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For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding gaming addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call 0800 144 8969. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

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