The title makes it sound much more glamorous than it is, but it is interesting. I’m a child psychiatrist who treats children, teens, and adults with video game addiction and internet addiction.
Over the last decade in clinical medicine, I started seeing more and more families who were struggling with problematic excessive gaming and phone use. As parents and friends concerned about video game usage mounted, so did my interest in it. Seeing a game destroy families really struck a chord with me. I began studying this area, speaking with the few experts in this field, and realized that this is a serious problem that affects the quality of people’s lives. Children failing in school, deprived of sleep, and developing unhealthy behaviors and eating habits are some of the things I see happening. In adults, gaming can interfere with work, sleep, and relationships with family and friends.
Warning Signs of Gaming Addiction
I am often asked how to recognize video game addiction, here are some of the general warning signs that you are dealing with something more serious than just a kid who likes to play:
- Dropping grades in school
- Not completing chores
- Preferring video games to in-person social interactions
- Not wanting to spend time with family and friends
- Losing interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Lack of physical activity
- Changes in their eating habits
- Fatigue/tiredness during the day
- Staying up late or waking up to play video games
- Irritability or anger when they have to stop playing or they cannot access the game/internet
After studying all there was to study, creating an effective and evidence-based protocol, and honing my skills in psychotherapy and addiction treatment, I launched a telemedicine practice called NowPsych that treats general child psychiatric issues but also with a focus on video game addiction. I truly enjoy being able to reach patients on all ages, across the country, from the comfort of their own homes and help them turn their lives around for the better.
Sean Paul is a Dual Board Certified Child/Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist. He specializes in treating patients of all ages with mental health issues as well as a specialization in video game and internet addiction.