Video Gaming Addiction (VGA) and other extreme and excessive forms of compulsive technology use are part of Process Addiction Disorders. Process Addictions are a behavioral addiction that involves a compulsion to engage in rewarding non-substance-related behavior. Sometimes, these are referred to as a natural reward despite the negative consequences to the person’s physical, mental, social, or financial well-being.
Young adults who become entangled in Process Addictions often have a strong history of social isolation; due to the “pseudo-connection” they often feel as a gamer in a virtual world. As humans, we are hard-wired for social connection, and when deprived of it, are prone to engage in behaviors that essentially medicate this need.
At the Lifeskills South Florida, we use a whole person approach in treating the following in four phases:
Usually lasting 2 – 3 weeks, is a “digital detox” where the Participant is removed from access to the internet and digital screens and reintroduced to the naturalistic rewards of real-time living. During this phase an emphasis is placed on re-balancing mind, body, and emotions along with good nutrition, adequate sleep, exercise, and social interaction.
A step-down phase where Participants are gradually weaned-off the externally imposed structure of the program and assume semi-independent responsibilities, with some reintroduction to technology access while still experiencing the support of the Lifeskills clinical team.
Engages the Participant in more active social interaction, communication, real-time activities, healthy lifestyle, and education of both the participant and family members on the dynamics of internet and technology addiction. The focus in phase 2 is on: managing stress, social skills, learning to cope with boredom, and how to avoid triggers and urges to go online.
The final phase of the program consists of discharge planning, structuring aftercare, beginning to resume a more balanced life which might include work, school, social activities, and healthy self-care.
Dr. David Greenfield
Dr. Greenfield is the founder and medical director of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine where he teaches Behavioral Addiction Medicine and supervises residents in psychiatry. He is a leading authority on Internet and technology addiction and author of numerous articles/book chapters and the book Virtual Addiction which in 1999 rang an early warning regarding the world’s growing Internet Addiction problem. Dr. Greenfield participates with the national and international psychiatric community by sharing his expertise through lectures, research, and various publications. He holds advanced training and board certifications in Addictions, Addiction Medicine, and Clinical Psychopharmacology.
Dr. Greenfield lectures throughout the world, and has appeared on CNN, Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, The Today Show, Fox News, ESPN, NPR and HBO. He’s been featured in U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, People, Time, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and The Economist.
Dr. Greenfield’s recent work is focused on the neurobiology of compulsive Internet, Smartphone, and screen use. He is credited with popularizing the variable reinforcement (slot machine model) of behavioral addictions and the dopamine-behavioral addiction connection.
Learn more about:
Video Game Addiction
Smart Phone Addiction
Social Media Addiction
About Process Addiction Disorders
Process Addiction Disorders are extreme or compulsive forms of a behavior that the individual is unable or is unwilling to stop despite the legal, financial, family, or other consequences.
Activities that fall into process addiction are ones that people engage in every day, such as shopping, gambling, exercise, eating, or sex. These non-substance related activities are ones that, unlike the general public, they struggle with the mental or physical health issues that arise as a consequence of their inability to stop without treatment.
Lifeskills South Florida’s clinical team is highly trained in process addiction treatment and creates a customized plan for each individual depending on their needs and willingness to engage in treatment.