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computer gaming addictions

Gaming is one of the newest potentially addicting pastimes to hit the scene, and it is rife not just among teens, but also among younger kids and adults. Some computer games are healthy and can teach valuable skills, such as concentration, creativity, problem-solving, and mastery of a task. Some computer games are educational, with puzzles or problems that enhance math or verbal skills. Most games promote creativity and offer novelty and an opportunity for master. They offer enjoyment, play and relaxation.

Some games have therapeutic purposes, such as virtual sensation games, in which for example, scenes of icy fjords can be used to cool a burn patient. Games can also provide a social connection for people who have physical impairments that keep them housebound. There can be a social element to gaming when players gather to play games – although each player is entirely engrossed in his or her own computer screen. Healthy social elements exist in online games where individuals learn the value of cooperation.

Games can provide social interaction when played with others – for example, two boys playing X-box or a girl and her father challenging each other at Nintendo.

But there is a new generation of games, games which can be seductive, absorbing and potentially addictive. Gaming can lead to addiction in the same way as drinking or using drugs. Scientists have shown that gaming releases adrenaline (which causes excitement) and dopamine (the pleasure neurotransmitter.) The game becomes so exciting that reality pales by comparison. The player enters a vivid, surreal scene that no real-world setting can approximate. He picks up a weapon or launches a super cyber-craft into space and immediately is imbued with euphoria and quivering with the rush of power and control. Read the article

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If you know of a child, young adult, or an adult who is involved in excessive gaming or is overusing other electronic media, please contact us for a private consultation. The earlier the intervention, the sooner the individual can return to normal development and healthy functioning. We look forward to talking with you.

Call us at (415) 945-0923 or email to make an appointment.

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