Study Finds Gaming and Other Addictive Behaviors in Children and Adolescents.
Addictions at any age begin with a sense of overwhelming and sometimes debilitating stress, depression, fear, or anxiety - leading to emotional escapism. Escaping reality, can take many forms; substance, gambling, video games, food, sex, etc. Anything that takes the person “away” becomes a way to self-medicate; the pressures seem to disappear while in the activity of addiction. Yet, the cycle of additional always returns.
In an April 2011 article published in Professional School Counseling, Hagedorn and Young reported on gaming addiction and other addictive behaviors in students. Sighting most common addictive behaviors among children and adolescents to include:
- Spending money
- Video and/or computer games (for example; World of Warcraft®, Call of Duty®, and Everquest®.
When is it an addiction? Relationships affected, interfere with life, work, or school responsibilities, lost time, feeling compelled, or secretive. These are typical signs that the escapism has become an addictive behavior. Whatever form of escapism, if the activity regulates mood and relieves emotional pressures, and needs to be re-enacted time and time again – then the behavior has become addictive.
Recognizing the Warning Signs of Addictive Behaviors in Children and Adolescents:
- Isolation from friends and family
- Poor hygiene, poor nutrition
- Change in school performance
- Relationship problems
- Suicidal or homicidal behaviors/thoughts
Addictions involve impulse control; children and adolescents in particular are learning how to manage their own impulses during their youth. Learning how the addiction cycle works, and how to replace the self-medicating addictive behavior with healthy coping skills are among the treatment protocol.
Find a therapist in your area through such sights as Psychology Today at http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/. In the Phoenix area, or for more resource information, feel free to email CherylWheeler@MyCounselingSolutions.com/.