Objectives  Define Internet and Gaming Addiction  Explore the metamorphosis of internet use and video games into addictive behaviors.

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~Why I Care/How It Impacts Recovery  The internet provides an immense amount of information, although not all credible.  Constant novelty of the internet can serve as an escape  Video games, online gambling, online shopping and pornography all have the potential to become problematic  Social media also has an addictive quality that can cause withdrawal and exacerbate mood disorders and/or addictions
~Symptoms  Downplaying and defensiveness about how much time you spend playing computer or video games  Lack of control: Spending more and more time playing video or computer games to get the same enjoyment  Withdrawing from friends, family, or your spouse to the point of disrupting family, social, or work life  Experiencing feelings of anger, depression, moodiness, anxiety, or restlessness when you’re not gaming  Spending significant sums of money for online services, computer upgrades, or gaming systems  Preoccupation: Thinking obsessively about being on the computer or playing video games even when doing other things
~Consequences  Physical  Carpal Tunnel  Migraines  Sleep Disturbances Insufficient sleep Circadian rhythm disruption  Depression/Neurotransmitter Imbalance  Backaches
Social¬† 50 percent report a strain in their marriage as a result of their addiction¬† Failure to develop effective face-to-face interpersonal skills¬† Inability or agitation ‚Äúsitting still‚ÄĚ
~What Makes a Video Game Addictive¬† High Score¬† Beating the Game¬† No Ending to the Game ‚Äď i.e. Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs)¬† Role Playing¬† Novelty/Discovery¬† A good portion of World of Warcraft is spent exploring imaginary worlds, and Minecraft is spent designing new worlds¬† Relationships¬† Acceptance¬† A place to anonymously try out different personas.¬† Researchers at Hammersmith Hospital in London conducted a study in 2005 which found that dopamine levels in players' brains doubled while they were playing
~ Risk Factors  Need to escape  Poor interpersonal relationships  Easily bored  Sensation seeking/adrenaline junkies
~ Treatment  Goals  Abstinence from problematic applications/sites  Balanced internet usage  Interventions  Prevent use parental controls: Turn internet off at a certain time Firewalls Timers Look for and accentuate exceptions
~ Treatment  Interventions  Prevent use Don’t forget tablets and smart phones
~ Treatment  Interventions  Decisional Balance Benefits to use  Can help identify psychosocial issues needing attention  Can identify areas in which to target alternate rewards Drawbacks to use (Accentuate this quadrant) Benefits to abstinence (Accentuate this quadrant) Drawbacks to abstinence  Can help identify psychosocial issues needing attention  Can identify areas in which to target alternate rewards
~ Treatment  Interventions  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (Distress Tolerance and Impulse Control)  Motivational Enhancement Therapy  Acceptance and Commitment Therapy  Psychoeducation  Self Esteem  Interpersonal skills  Communication  Relationship  Coping skills  Goal Setting
~Treatment  Interventions  Medications: Temporarily rebalance neurotransmitters with SSRIs (Lexapro, Welbutrin) Naltrexone (an opiate agonist) Dexmethylphenidate  Exercise Increases serotonin and dopamine Sunlight can help regulate neurotransmitters including melatonin and improve sleep and mood
~ Treatment  Interventions  Nutrition Water (dehydration can cause symptoms of depression) Oats Bananas Chicken Dairy products Green leafy veggies Almonds and walnuts
~ Apply It  Identify 3 ways you could have used this information in the past week.  What was the situation?  What did you do?  If you would have had this new information, what could you have done differently?  How can you start integrating this knowledge into your routine?
~Summary  Like other addictions, internet addiction can have physical, social, financial and emotional consequences  In our digital age, it is highly unlikely that people can completely unplug.  Similar to other behavioral addictions like eating and sex, it is necessary to identify the motivations behind the internet use  Additionally, by its very rewarding nature, internet addiction will cause neurochemical imbalances which can lead to depression and apathy.
Recovery involves addressing  Underlying mood, self esteem and coping issues  Identifying triggers for use and ways to deal with them  Creating a relapse prevention plan
~VideoGameAddiction.net¬† NetAddictionRecovery.blogspot.com¬† “Virtual Addiction” David N. Greenfield, Ph.D.,¬† “Caught in the Net” Dr. Kimberly Young¬† Center for Internet Addiction Recovery¬† American Psychiatric Association¬† Online Gamers Anonymous ( http://www.olganon.org)¬† Gentile, D.A. (2009). Pathological video game use among youth 8 to 18: a national study. Psychological Science, 20, 594-602.