Gaming addiction is a major problem that remains largely unrecognized as a clinical disorder within the general population. This is because there has been very little research conducted examining the problem and it has therefore been difficult to define. Nevertheless addiction specialists have been seeing clients with gaming problems presenting to services asking for help. Unfortunately because of the lack of research and gaming addiction not yet being included in any official diagnostic manuals, treatment for the disorder is not currently available through the national health service.
The course of the disorder is very similar to that of other addictions beginning in late adolescence or early adulthood and becoming progressively worse and disabling as time goes by. Affected individuals find themselves spending increasing amounts of time consumed within the game(s). Some games appear to be more addictive than others, in particular ‘massively multiplayer online role-playing games’ such as Second Life or World of Warcraft. In these games individuals report a feeling of reward from the connection with other players and a feeling of the game being an artificial reality as it involves real life characters participating in the virtual environment. Individuals also report gaining pleasure from the ability to obtain new skills or powers as increasing game points are acquired. Unfortunately affected individuals often find themselves spending hours, sometimes even day(s) transfixed within the game environment often at the expense of their self-care and their friends or work.
If you think you may need treatment,
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The exact reason why some people becoming addicted to games and others don’t, is unclear. However there is an association between gaming addiction and autism spectrum disorders. Treatment involves a mixed approach including elements of counseling, CBT, art and music therapy and other supportive measures. There are no drug treatments currently licenced in the UK to treat gaming addiction. However the disorder can be treated effectively through a careful approach ruling out other diagnoses and ensuring that the service user is realistic in their expectations.
If you would like to see our Specialist Consultant in Gaming Addiction, Dr Punukollu please call Caroline on 0203 326 9160 who will be able to arrange an appointment at your soonest convenience.