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California recovery center begins program for videogame dependency

November 18, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Because pre-sales reached a record high for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in conjunction with the recently released Call of Duty: Ghosts, many addiction professionals believe that gamers are even more susceptible to becoming lost in a virtual world.

Morningside Recovery, a substance abuse and mental health recovery center in Southern California, has founded an all-inclusive recovery program that focuses on treating compulsive video and online gaming.

Problem gamers arrive at Morningside and receive the much-needed break from their gaming devices, and are also helped with their personal growth. These individuals are typically driven to increase status within the games' online communities – often to escape the problems of their everyday lives. It has been found that for young males in particular, long periods of time spent gaming, lack of social skills, and impulsivity are considered strong risk factors for compulsive gaming.

"Mistaking video game interaction for interpersonal relationships can be easily reinforced and is detrimental to children and young adults," says Morningside Recovery's Clinical Director Dr. Gerald Grosso. As he explains, "They often miss opportunities to develop the social skills needed to reach developmental milestones, making relationships difficult and awkward."

Compulsive gamers are also more likely to be diagnosed with other disorders including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Counselors at Morningside believe that addressing these issues along with the actual compulsive behavior is crucial to successfully treating compulsive gaming, which shares many attributes with certain process addictions like gambling or shopping.

 

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