In 2018, the World Health Organization recognized “gaming disorder” in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. Gaming is a fun way to relax, but studies estimate 1-3% of gamers are at risk of developing unhealthy habits around games. Social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and others are also becoming increasingly troublesome forms of technology for adolescents and young adults. At Family Addiction Specialist in Brooklyn and Manhattan, in New York City, Lin Sternlicht, LMHC, MA, EdM, and Aaron Sternlicht, LMHC, CASAC, regularly work with men, women, and adolescents struggling with digital addictions. If you’re concerned about the role video games, social media, or other digital platforms are having on you or your child’s life, request a digital addiction and gaming recovery appointment by calling their Brooklyn or Manhattan office today.
No. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying video games, social media, or other digital mediums. Gaming provides a great outlet for stress and creativity. Research suggests playing video games can improve coordination, memory, and attention.
Video games also enhance brain speed, assist in problem-solving and multitasking skills, and provide a social outlet for millions of people all over the world. Furthermore, gaming is now a multibillion-dollar industry where passionate gamers of all ages can build a career.
There are numerous benefits to social media as well such as virtual connections with individuals across the globe; providing tools for organization, social justice, and awareness; providing platforms for art, culture and business, among various other benefits.
However, engaging in gaming, social media, or other forms of technology for extended periods of time or neglecting personal responsibilities as a result of digital use can negatively impact your career, education, interpersonal and family relationships and overall quality of life.
A good video game keeps players engaged, such as Fortnite, Roblox, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and many other top-rated games. To do this, developers build rewards, hidden features, and side quests into games. Whenever you complete a level, beat a boss, or unlock a new power, your brain receives a boost of dopamine.
Similarly, social media platforms such as TikTok are built to be highly stimulating and engaging with endless scrolling. When a social media user gets an engagement via a “like,” “follow” or “comment”, or even has thoughts about opening their social media app, the brain releases “feel good” neurochemicals and induces a sense of pleasure.
Long periods of gaming, social media and other technology use can cause your neural pathways to crave these chemical changes, affecting you on a subconscious level. Many gamers or social media users find themselves engaged in playing, scrolling or creating content for hours or even days at a time, neglecting meals, personal hygiene, and sleep as well as work, school, relationships or other responsibilities.
Gaming and social media are also addictive from a social standpoint. Today’s gaming takes place online allowing players from all over the world to connect and spend time with each other. Unfortunately, this is a false sense of connection, falling short of the benefits of real human interaction. The same goes for social media. Lack of human connection and interaction can then breed feelings of loneliness and low mood which in turn contributes to digital addiction as well as to other addictions and/or mental health concerns. It can become a vicious cycle.
The symptoms of digital addiction vary from person to person. However, common telltale signs include:
It’s also common for people suffering from gaming addiction, social media addiction, or other digital addictions to neglect personal hygiene like brushing and flossing their teeth, showering regularly, eating, or maintaining a proper sleep routine.
The Family Addiction Specialist firm treats digital addiction and gaming recovery with a holistic, person centered, and whole family approach.
At your initial consultation, your specialist will review your digital use history, mental and physical health, lifestyle and routines, current life problems, and ask you about the symptoms you’re experiencing. After taking all of this information into account, they formulate a treatment plan that aligns with your individual needs.
Some of the disciplines Family Addiction Specialist incorporates into therapy include:
The team also incorporates healthy lifestyle changes to promote wellness. For example, if you’re worried about spending too much time gaming, your specialist may help you discover healthier methods of relaxation and recommend lifestyle changes such as engaging in meditation, eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and following a proper sleep routine.
If you play video games or engage in social media to relieve anxiety or escape daily stressors, your specialist can help you better understand the source of your negative emotions. They can also provide you with strategies that help you cope with specific challenges.
For children and teenagers suffering from gaming addiction, your specialist may recommend family coaching or counseling. Parents and siblings play an important role in easing cravings and helping break the cycle of addiction.
Currently therapy and coaching appointments are being held at the Family Addiction private and discreet office in the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Additionally, Family Addiction Specialist encourages home visits for digital addictions, especially when the primary patient is an adolescent or young adult. Your specialist will arrive at your home, meet with the family, review lifestyle and dynamics, and be better equipped to provide the necessary recommendations to improve your wellbeing and presenting problems.
If you or your loved one is resistant to receiving help for their digital addiction, the team at Family Addiction Specialist utilizes techniques such as Motivational Interviewing to enhance the individuals’ insight about the problems digital addictions are causing in their life to improve patient engagement and participation in the treatment process. Family Addiction Specialist always provides honest and transparent assessment and acknowledges patients who are not yet ready to participate in their recovery services.
In such cases, the team also works with family members willing to participate to help them cope with their loved one’s digital dependence and help them better navigate the situation through methods of healthy boundary setting and improved communication. The team at Family Addiction Specialist also conducts interventions for digital addictions. To learn more about intervention services, please visit the Consultation & Emergency Crisis Relief Service Page.
Don’t let video games, social media, or other digital addictions prevent you from living your best life. Request your consultation at Family Addiction Specialist by calling their Brooklyn or Manhattan office today.