A teen can become addicted to playing video games for many different reasons. If you’re concerned about your teen’s behavior, gaming abuse treatment for teens can help. Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers teen gaming addiction treatment designed to provide teens with the tools to maintain balance in their lives. Call 866.300.5275 to learn more about getting help for your teenage boy.
How Can Gaming Become an Addiction?
Addictions that don’t involve substance use are called “process addictions.” Although process addictions don’t bring the physical health risks associated with drugs or alcohol, they can be just as destructive for a person’s quality of life.
A video game addiction is a type of process addiction. Other common process addictions focus on:
- Social media
Process addictions are complex because they often involve activities that are a part of regular life. However, a compulsion to do any of these behaviors follows the same pattern as a substance use disorder—and they can all have serious negative consequences on a teen’s mental and emotional health, relationships, and academic performance.
What Is the Cause of Gaming Addiction?
There’s no single teen gaming addiction cause. Some of the factors that increase the likelihood of a teen developing an addiction to gaming include:
- Mental health conditions – Teens with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions may use gaming as a means of escaping their emotional struggles.
- Emotional health concerns – Teens may turn to gaming as a way to avoid their feelings.
- Social and environmental factors – Teens who are isolated or lack a sense of belonging may find gaming to be an enjoyable social experience.
- Unprocessed trauma – Teens may use gaming to numb themselves from painful or uncomfortable memories.
- Genetic factors – Teens who have a family history of addiction may be predisposed to developing process addictions.
Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to become addicted more easily. At the same time, factors like stress, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and traumatic experiences all increase the likelihood of a teen becoming addicted to video games, which can distract them from challenging or unwanted thoughts and feelings.
A significant gaming addiction cause is related to teen brain chemistry. Video games activate teenagers’ brain reward system. Leveling up, defeating opponents, and breaking high scores all cause a rush of dopamine, the chemical responsible for making people feel good. When a teen stops playing a game, they lose the constant rush of elevated dopamine levels.
This effect on the brain is often felt most drastically in teens with lower dopamine levels than normal, which can be caused by genetics and mental health conditions. That’s why teens with a history of trauma or mental health concerns are particularly at risk of developing a compulsion to play video games.
The New Role of Technology
In recent decades, technological advances have changed the way we interact with the world around us. Smartphones make it possible never to disconnect from the endless world of the internet.
Teens grow up having to learn how to manage a healthy relationship with technology—and this is a challenge that older generations didn’t face. Video game addiction is increasing in today’s teenagers, along with other newer process addictions like smartphone addiction and social media addiction.
Teen Gaming Addiction Treatment Program at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Teens struggle to set healthy boundaries with technologies that didn’t exist for previous generations. Therefore, greater numbers of behavioral health professionals are beginning to understand the danger. That is why effective teen gaming addiction treatment programs, designed to address the cause of gaming addiction in each client, are so essential.