Most teens love video games and spending time on the internet. For some, what starts as entertainment transitions into a major behavior disorder or even a computer addiction. When teens experience an addiction to electronics, it’s more than the desire to be on the internet. Like other behavioral disorders, teen electronic addiction involves a gradual loss of the ability to regulate, avoid, or limit spending time doing it.
There are facilities that provide treatment for electronic addiction. We offer interventions as part of our electronic addiction treatment plan.
What Causes Computer Addiction?
As with other compulsive behavior disorders, researchers have been unable to identify the exact cause of electronic addiction. Experts believe it to be more prevalent in teens who also struggle with ailments such as depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety. Teens who spend a lot of time with big online role-playing games such as Everquest or World of Warcraft may be at a higher risk of addiction because games like these never end. Frequent changes and updates make them impossible to conquer, tempting gamers to return to play more.
For teens who are at risk of developing an internet addiction, the thrill of playing generates an endorphin release that mimics changes in the brains of people who become addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or food. Teens with other behavioral or mental health challenges who have a tough time in social situations are likely to crave the sense of community and the adrenaline rush of online gaming.
What Are the Symptoms of Computer Addiction?
The core elements of an addiction to computers resemble those of other compulsions or addictions. Those who struggle with it may need to spend more time doing it to experience the same “rush.” Obsessing about being on an electronic device is another symptom of addiction. Computer addicts may spend offline time planning for their next online session or talking about past computer experiences. If your teen expresses anxiety, irritability, or frustration when he or she isn’t allowed or able to spend time on the computer, there may be an addiction. Abandoning other hobbies or friends to be on an electronic device indicates addiction. So does continuing to spend time online despite negative consequences. Examples would be losing friends, experiencing a health problem, or struggling in school.
If you suspect that your teen has become addicted, start tracking how many hours he or she is spending on the computer or playing video games. If your child spends most non-school hours on a device, this signals addiction. Insomnia is another specific indicator of addiction, as is falling asleep in school. Dry eyes and vision problems are physical signs of addiction. So are headaches, neck pain and back pain.
Your Teen Needs Electronic Addiction Treatment
Deciding the best way to treat your teen depends on several factors, including his or her age, the severity of the addiction and whether there are co-occurring disorders. Some teens respond well to outpatient therapy while others need residential care. This is why we offer an assessment. That way, we can customize the treatment to the needs of each afflicted teen. Our services include:
- A 30-day assessment and intervention completed by a multidisciplinary team
- Individualized therapy
- Small group therapy
- Help developing positive and healthy behaviours
Addiction doesn’t have to control your child’s life. Treatment for an electronic addiction is available. A rehabilitation program can help. Contact Venture Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia, Red Deer, Alberta, or Barrie, Ontario, at 866.762.2211, and we’ll help your teen start on the path to recovery.