The combination of advancement of video games and more time spent at home, such as the pandemic the world is still recovering from in many ways, can lead to disaster for some. Video games and their presence in today’s world, are having a huge impact on our generation to come. Untreated video game addiction can leave gamers with no self of true Identity, and people skills to match. Understanding how devastating this kind of disorder is, it’s again no wonder as to why we need video game addiction rehabs available today. Luckily there are rehabs in Austin doing amazing work, one of these being Omega Recovery. Dr. Kardaras, the founder of Omega Recovery, has created a unique program that does indeed address all the underlying issues that come with video game addiction. Of course, there is a digital detox period, but during that digital detox, the real work of self-discovery and long-term recovery occur. Whether it be yourself, or someone you love- getting a better understanding of what video game addiction looks like and how it evolves can trigger positive change. One that yourself or that someone you love will thank you for one day.
What Is Considered To Be A Gaming Addiction?
So how is one able to tell the difference between healthy or leisurely video game play versus a possible gaming addiction? In a nutshell, if time spent playing video games has had no adverse effects on your everyday life- you are most likely in the clear. Video Game Addiction is considered a compulsive or uncontrolled use of video games that negatively affects other areas of the person’s life. It is also considered to be a form of tech addiction, computer addiction, or internet addiction. Unfortunately, addictive video games have become more commonplace and most often target children and young adults. Which is precisely why we need video game addiction rehabs available, in fact, our future depends on it. One survey found that of over 150 million people in the U.S. alone, 97% of male teens and young adults play video games. With 41% of those surveyed feeling they spend too much time playing video games. The need for gaming addiction awareness rises from the fact that 10% of gamers will develop obsessive and compulsive behavior around their gaming use. A gaming addiction can severely negatively affect a person’s life and ability to function normally in society. Ironically enough, gamers usually have above average intelligence, but often get so stuck in their gaming obsession that they fail to thrive in their normal life. It is important to understand that gaming addiction should be addressed immediately, as the obsession grows even stronger with time.
How Gaming Addiction Affects An Individual’s Brain And Emotions
Video games can impact the brain in several ways and certain changes are more obvious than others.The age of the person, or brain so to speak, also plays a role in how much video game play can have an effect. For example if video gaming is balanced with other healthy interests like a sport or hobby, the brain will receive small doses of dopamine that leave the gamer feeling happy and motivated. But long and frequent video gaming sessions can release unhealthy huge doses of dopamine repeatedly. This can cause the brain to try to keep its own function in balance and will shut down its ability to get dopamine. Ironically in response, video gamers will start to play even more to try that same gaming high or thrill, but the brain will compensate by shutting down even more of its ability to get dopamine. Eventually, this cycle will mean the brain doesn’t produce enough dopamine and it will become dopamine deficient. This is why we need video game rehabs available for everyone, brains of all ages. The health of our brain plays a huge role in how we live the rest of our life.
The other part of our brain affected by video game addiction is the part associated with our natural fight-or-flight response designed to protect us when we sense danger, our amygdala. When we experience fear, worry, shame, or other negative emotions, the amygdala becomes active. The amygdala is the part of that brain that governs these negative emotions. It is also integral to our learning circuitry since it creates connections to the hippocampus, the center for learning in our brain. Thanks to our amygdala the body releases hormones that increase our heart and breathing rates and gets our muscles ready to respond. In some situations, it can be a lifesaver by helping us stay alert, focused, and able to react quickly. However, there is a point at which our natural fight-or-flight response stops being beneficial and starts causing problems. These problems can happen when playing violent video games, which is why we need video game addiction rehabs. In example of players who choose violent video games, over time the brain may think the threats and attacks in the game are real and there is an actual battle. This can cause the player to react angrily and aggressively, because the fight-or-flight amygdala has taken denying the gamer access to the logical part of their brain. However, fMRI studies have shown that if we start to play video games when our amygdala is active, it calms down. The effects of this are two-fold:
- Constant suppression of negative emotions can lead to a condition called alexithymia. If a person is alexithymic, then that means that they have trouble determining their internal emotional state. Alexithymic people find it hard to pinpoint the emotions that they are feeling. However, that does not mean that those emotions do not affect their behavior.
- The amygdala is a core part of our learning circuitry. Painful experiences get imprinted onto our memory, and we learn from them. However, people find it hard to quit playing video games because their amygdala does not make connections with their hippocampus as smoothly. They don’t learn from the painful experiences of not doing well in school or at work. Their learning circuitry gets sabotaged, and it becomes difficult for them to quit gaming.
There is no denying that video game play, let alone video game addiction, does have an effect on our developing brain. This effect can also pair with a gamers emotions, feelings, relationships, and every day choices in life. This is again why we need video game addiction rehabs that work in helping those seeking recovery from an impairing addiction. One such as Omega Recovery in Austin, where we understand how to break free from the grips of video game addiction to reclaim your brain and your life.
Video Game Addiction Effects Of The Brain Can Have Impact On Social Skills
As no surprise here, social disconnection is a real problem in the video gaming community. In fact, an Iranian study done on second-grade students in 2009 found that individuals who were addicted to video games tended to have lower social skills than those who were not. Social interaction is a skill, and if you spend most of your time alone in your room, playing games, and not interacting with other people in real life, then that skill will deteriorate. That can lead to social anxiety, which makes the problem worse. Out of all the negative effects of video games, this one can be a focus because it is the easiest to see. Multiplayer games are often touted as a way to ‘connect’ to others, but very rarely do the actual gamers meet up in real life and enjoy an outside connection from gaming. An authentic human interaction with others can in many ways help shape our social skills, or we physically and emotionally interact with others in an environment. Why we need video game addiction rehabs is largely due to unhealthy isolation, which can be extremely detrimental to mental health. We all need some alone time, yes, but human beings are not solitary creatures. Humanity thrives when we work together in healthy groups, ones where we can support each other and have a balance.
Dr. Kardaras Explains Why We Need Video Game Addiction Rehabs
As the author of the best-selling book “Glow Kids”, Dr. Kardaras is dedicated to enhancing wellness by offering clarity, direction, and results through extensive diagnostic evaluations and holistic treatment for gaming addiction. At Omega Recovery, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, one of the country’s foremost experts on treating tech and gaming addiction has developed a very comprehensive and immersive 8-week program for recovery. One designed to not only treat the gaming addiction, but to also address any and all underlying issues that may be contributing to the gaming addiction. Many gamers struggle with depression, anxiety, substance use, self-esteem, low resilience, shame, trauma…oftentimes they struggle to find real purpose and meaning in their lives.
“Unfortunately, it seems that we, as a society, have entered into a Faustian deal. Yes, we have these amazing handheld marvels of the digital age – tablets and smartphones – miraculous glowing devices that connect people throughout the globe and can literally access the sum of all human knowledge in the palm of our hand. But what is the price of all this future tech? The psyche and soul of an entire generation. The sad truth is that for the oh-so-satisfying ease, comfort and titillation of these jewels of the modern age, we’ve unwittingly thrown an entire generation under the virtual bus.” – Dr. Kardaras
Dr. Kardaras’s unique program does indeed address all those underlying issues. Yes, there is a digital detox period, but during that digital detox, the real work of self-discovery—and long-term recovery—occur. We meaningfully engage our gaming clients and connect them to caring, well-trained masters-level therapists trained by Dr. Kardaras and certified by the NIDHW (National Institute for Digital Health and Wellness). Clients begin to do the underlying psychodynamic work so that they can build a stronger and more empowered sense of their own identity, one without the counterfeit reality of their games. Dr. Karadaras and his team know first hand the devastating effects that untreated video addiction can have in our life. Which is why we need video game addiction rehabs that work such as Omega Recovery.
Level Up With Omega Recovery’s Addiction Rehab Facility In Austin
In our Community Integrated Treatment Model, our Omega clients are engaged in living in the real world once again. At Omega Recovery we make it fun as we help our clients to find their passion and reclaim their life! Oftentimes, video games are a substitute for a young person who feels bored, lost, depressed, adrift and lacking any real sense of purpose or direction. Omega Recovery helps gamers to find that meaningful sense of passion, purpose, and direction in their lives. By living cooperatively in a treatment house in a vibrant community in the thriving city of Austin, Omega Recovery uses all the social, nature-based, cultural, educational and economic opportunities available. The recovering video gamer gets the full clinical impact of an inpatient program in a more comfortable, alternative to traditional inpatient treatment. Dr. Kardaras has found that this type of treatment setting has better recovery outcomes as it is a more authentic and organic living and therapeutic environment. This can also translate into a smoother transition post-treatment. Which is precisely why we need video game addiction rehabs, it’s because centers like Omega Recovery work!
Towards the end of treatment, the client works with their therapist to slowly begin to reintegrate mindful tech usage back into their lives. We help create a “digital reentry” plan so that our clients and their families have a clear road-map of the transition back to our highly technological world. The recovered gamer needs to know how to balance healthy tech usage back into their lives as they look to get back into school, get a job or pursue any other passion that they may have. We assist our clients in post-treatment transition planning that includes aftercare, case management, peer coaching, job placement, recovery housing and much more.