Gaming Addiction


Evidence Based Treatment for Gaming Addiction

We give patients the therapeutic tools they need to stay abstinent and live fulfilled lives.

What is Gaming Addiction or Gaming Disorder

Winning can mean completing a mission or goal in the game, defeating another player or beating a high score. Many online and video games today are multiplayer, and people can also get addicted to the social aspect of playing.

The widespread availability of mobile devices and Internet access is considered to have contributed to gaming disorder becoming a global phenomenon.

As of January 2018, gaming disorder has been declared a real mental disorder by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Gaming disorder will also be placed in the ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases), as of 2018.

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WHO defines gaming disorder as “a pattern of gaming behaviour characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences”.

To receive the diagnosis of gaming disorder, a person must experience some deterioration in functioning and day-to-day life, such as school, family, work, health, or social life. The person must also exhibit these symptoms for a duration of 12 months or more.

People at risk for gaming disorder are urged to be monitored for any changes in physical or psychological well-being. Extensive durations of time spent on video and/or online games should also be kept in mind.

There are many similarities between gaming and gambling addiction.

Gaming Addiction Symptoms

There are several symptoms to watch out for in yourself or a loved one when a gaming addiction is suspected.

  • A preoccupation with gaming Any addiction can make a person so involved in it that they start to prioritize it over everything else in their lives. A person may start to skip school or work to play and may neglect their family and forgo socializing with friends. People with gaming addiction will also often skimp on sleep in order to play more. Food, exercise, and basic self-care can also fall on the list of priorities because it takes away time from gaming.
  • The inability to control one’s time (or money) spent on video games. People who are addicted lose their sense of self-discipline. People with gaming addiction do not always recognize they have a problem or are in denial. When confronted, they may become aggressive or violent. They may also make an effort to play even if there are negative consequences to their actions.

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Cross-Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

Gaming addiction, like any other addiction, can be influenced by another underlying problem, such as anxiety, depression, or PTSD. Known as dual diagnosis, this can be an important factor when treating a person for gaming addiction.

If the underlying issue is not treated along with the gaming disorder, the person may relapse with the gaming addiction again or develop another addiction later. For this reason, proper diagnosis, a medical assessment, and appropriate treatment are necessary for professionals.

Long-term or severe behavioural addictions can also lead to secondary addictions, also known as cross-addiction. Gaming addiction can influence a person to turn to alcohol or drugs, such as amphetamines or cocaine in order to stay alert and awake or to deal with stress and insomnia due to extreme gaming

Treatment Options for Gaming Disorder at Castle Craig

Professional therapy is recommended as a treatment for all behavioural addictions, including gaming addiction. Therapy can be either individual or group and can be done as an inpatient or outpatient.

Outpatient treatment is done while the person remains living at home and only attends scheduled therapy sessions at an assigned time. With outpatient treatment, a person can continue with their day-to-day activities, including school or work.

Inpatient treatment allows the individual to stay in a residential facility during the course of the treatment. When addressing any addiction, even a behavioural addiction, and gaming addiction, inpatient treatment gives the person a better opportunity to recover because they are removed completely from their substance or behaviour, and are not influenced by the stresses of day-to-day life, which may have caused the addiction in the first place.

Because Internet access, phones, and computers are not allowed in residential rehabs, a person with gaming addiction undergoes a sort of “technology detox”.

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Continuing Care

Proper continuing care is important when recovering from an addiction, as relapse can happen quickly when a person leaves treatment. Aftercare programs reduce the risk of relapse.

At Castle Craig, continuing care means providing the patient with helpful resources, such as local therapists or support groups, so that the person has someone to lean on if things get difficult. These support groups are also encouraged, even after recovery, as addiction is a lifelong disease.

Coping strategies and self-help techniques are also taught throughout the treatment process. Finally, all patients are welcome to return to Castle Craig if they need any additional help.

I want to thank you! I’d like to you so much for all the help you have given Jordan. He has come out of the castle a calmer, clearer and more self-assured person. He now believes he has a future and is very positive about the direction he wants to go in! I’m very hopeful and extremely grateful to you for the wonderful work you do!!


NHS Treatment

In June 2018, the NHS announced that it will provide the diagnosis of gaming addiction and offer treatment for people suffering from it. This move came after a three-year-long campaign by a mother, Kendal Parmar, whose son suffered from severe gaming addiction, and is believed to have been influenced by WHO’s recognition of gaming disorder.

Because gaming disorder will be classified in the ICD-11, those under NHS are entitled to free treatment for gaming addiction.

Professional therapy is recommended as a treatment for all behavioural addictions, including gaming addiction. Therapy can be either individual or group and can be done as an inpatient or outpatient.

There are Alcoholics Anonymous-like fellowships dedicated to gaming addiction, some of which have online meetings as well as in-person meetings. OLGA, Online Gamers Anonymous, and Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous are two fellowships and self-help groups dedicated to gaming disorders.

Other Resources

These websites also offer links to resources for people awaiting treatment or those who are not ready for treatment.

How Can Castle Craig Help?

How Do I Pay For Rehab?

One concern we sometimes hear from people is how they will fund their rehab treatment. The cost of rehab varies depending on what kind of accommodation you choose. You can pay for treatment at Castle Craig privately, or through medical insurance, and some people receive funding through the NHS.

How Long Is the Rehab Programme?

Residential rehab treatment starts at 4 weeks and can go up to 12+ weeks. Research shows us that the longer you stay in rehab and are part of the residential therapy programme, the longer the likelihood of continued abstinence and stable recovery.

Who Will I Speak to When I Call?

When you call you will reach our Help Centre team who will give you all the information you need to help you decide whether to choose treatment at Castle Craig. Once you have decided that you would like to have a free screening assessment you will be put in touch with our admissions case managers who will guide you through the admissions process.

What Happens at the End of My Treatment?

Castle Craig thoroughly prepares patients before departure by creating a personalised continuing care plan which is formulated following discussions with the medical and therapeutic team. We offer an online continuing care programme which runs for 24 weeks after leaving treatment, in order to ensure a smooth transition back into your everyday life. Patients leaving treatment automatically join our Recovery Club where they can stay connected via our annual reunion, events, online workshops and recovery newsletters.

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