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Internet Gaming Disorder

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Internet Gaming Disorder Treatment in Los Angeles with Dr. Thomas Hughes

Clear Steps for Overcoming An Unhealthy Relationship with Technology

Video games are a fun way to relax and unwind, but you can have too much of a good thing. If your video game use has gotten out of hand, or if you’re concerned that your teen is spending too much time online, Internet Gaming Disorder may be the cause.

Dr. Thomas Hughes specializes in adolescent and adult Internet Gaming Disorder in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Call us at 213-433-2823 [-CUBE] to begin exploring Internet Gaming Disorder treatment in Los Angeles.

What Is Internet Gaming Disorder

Internet Gaming Disorder is a common problem in teens and adults.

An average amount of gameplay does not meet the criteria for the disorder. Many children, teens, men, and women enjoy the occasional and healthy use of video games and technology. Internet Gaming Disorder occurs when this technology use begins to interfere with daily life.

The type of game that one plays is less important than its impact on daily life. Dr. Hughes has worked with many teens to resolve symptoms of the disorder on video games and technology platforms which include:

  • Standard shooting style games
  • Arcade games
  • Multi-player role-playing games
  • Card games
  • Situational games
  • Social media

If gaming is causing problems in your life, talk with a mental health professional about Internet Gaming Disorder in Los Angeles. Treatment options are available.

Symptoms of Internet Gaming Disorder

While the American Psychiatric Association’s official guidelines (also called the DSM-5) do not officially recognize Internet Gaming Disorder, insurance carriers consider it “diagnosable.” They will cover treatment in many cases. The APA is researching this group of behaviors to determine whether to include it as an official “condition” in its next edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.)

The APA has established nine criteria for characterizing potential Internet Gaming Disorder:

Do you think about internet games often, even when you’re not currently playing them?

How do you feel when you’re not able to play internet games? If you feel grumpy, irritable, angry, anxious, or sad when technology use is restricted, it can be a sign of Internet Gaming Disorder in Los Angeles.

Do you feel a need to spend more time online or play increasingly stimulating games to achieve the same level of joy as you previously did? Are you building up your equipment (faster, more powerful computers and devices)?

Do you feel you should spend less time participating in online gaming but struggle to cut back?

Is internet gaming keeping you from other activities you used to enjoy? Have you reduced the amount of time you spend participating in recreational activities or lost interest in pastimes?

Do you continue to play online and computer games, even when they negatively impact your life? Examples of negative impacts include being late to work or school, not getting enough sleep, spending too much money on games or equipment, neglecting family, not completing chores and other responsibilities, and arguments with others.

Are you lying about the amount of time you spend online?

Do you game to escape personal problems or feelings like stress, anxiety, and depression?

Have you lost jobs, relationships, or other opportunities as a result of your relationship with technology?

More important than checking every box on this list of symptoms is internet gaming’s impact on your life. If a persistent desire to play online games or use technology interferes with your ability to function, work, and interact with family and friends, you may need help for your relationship with technology.

Mental and Physical Health Risks Internet Gaming Disorder

The disorder can manifest in many different ways. If it is negatively impacting your life or the life of your teen, seek professional help. Commonly experienced mental and physical health risks of video game disorder include:

This is just a brief sample of the risks that can occur through the overuse of games and technology.

Is Internet Gaming Disorder an Addiction?

Dr. Hughes often reminds patients that addiction and dependency may not be the best terms to use when discussing internet gaming disorder.  While the overuse of technology can disrupt lives,  IGD is not currently classified as an addiction due to lack of evidence. Often it is an unhealthy habit that can be resolved through lifestyle and mindset changes. Many psychiatrists and psychologists disagree about the classification of IGD, but more research is being conducted for clarity about the condition and treatment options. 

Steps You Can Take Now

If you’re struggling with overuse of the internet or gaming platforms, the first step is admitting it. You can overcome this challenge, but you’ll need to make real changes.

If you need help overcoming Internet Gaming Disorder in Los Angeles, contact Dr. Hughes for a consultation. Parents can contact Dr. Hughes if they see these patterns and behaviors in their children/teens.

Getting Professional Help- Internet Gaming Disorder Treatment

Dr. Hughes uses the C.U.B.E. approach for treating Internet Gaming Disorder and other concerns.

C

Connect –  Relationships are the foundation of successful therapy.

U

Uplift – When you feel good about yourself and your options, it is easier to make a change. We create a positive environment so our patients can feel about themselves and their behavior.

B

Build – We’ll work together as a team to build tools for handling life and relationships with technology. The goal is for our patients to know how to dive in and address these challenges.

E

Empower – Dr. Hughes empowers the patient to be self-sufficient.

Each patient receives a personalized treatment plan that often includes cognitive behavioral therapy. This therapeutic approach allows patients struggling with Internet Gaming Disorder to understand the condition and provides tools for using technology in safe and healthy ways.

FAQS: Internet Gaming Disorder Treatment in Los Angeles

Treating this condition helps teens and others to build a foundation for a happy and successful life.

Every patient is different. Professional help is often useful for addressing issues related to Internet Gaming Disorder. We empower patients with tools and strategies they may not be able to develop on their own. Our goal is always “time-limited” therapy. We want to see you, help you, and then send you off into the world again. Therapy doesn’t have to last forever.

Every patient’s use of technology is unique. Getting treatment now will help you find relief and may stop this condition from further affecting school, work, and relationships. 

Medication is a useful tool, but children and teens rarely need it. Because there are many things we can try first, we don’t go straight to medications. However, when medication is necessary and used appropriately, it can dramatically improve lives. We’ll always talk with you about the pros and cons of any medicine before we begin using it.

Timelines for treatment depend on many factors. Some patients find relief after a few sessions, while others require a more extended approach. We believe in “time-limited” treatment and build planned obsolescence into our treatment plans. Our goal is that one day you will no longer need our services because you will have the tools you need to be successful.

Improve your relationship with technology and internet gaming. Contact Dr. Hughes to schedule your first appointment for Internet Gaming Disorder. We work with teens and their families together.