Because computer game addiction is a new development in the world of mental health, treatments are not as well established as those for depression, anxiety, anger, etc. Most interventions take a cognitive-behavioral approach which involve changing how the addict thinks about the addiction (for example, recognizing cognitive distortions designed to convince the gamer that it is not a problem), and simultaneously changing his/her behaviors (for example, setting strict limits for play, taking care of other responsibilities before gaming, using game blocking software or devices, etc.). Treatment can take a variety of forms including:
Individual therapy with a psychologist who specializes in treating computer game addiction or who has experience with addictions in general. Treatment is tailored to the individual player and is based on established psychological principals and interventions.
Computer game addiction specialists are quite rare and it may be difficult or impossible to find one locally. Treatment can be quite expensive if multiple sessions are required (which is usually true).
Computer game addiction almost always affects other family members, and the chance for recovery is increased if these members are involved in treatment and are working together toward mutually agreed upon goals.
It may be even more difficult to find a computer game addiction specialist who is also experienced offering family therapy. Additionally, some family members may see the problem only as the addict’s responsibility and may be unwilling to participate in therapy.
In-patient treatment facilities (very rare in North America but much more common in counties such as China and South Korea).
Very expensive (tens of thousands of dollars), few facilities in North America and Europe, and little research on the efficacy of the treatments.
Wilderness therapy in which the addicted gamer enters an outdoor treatment program focused on survival skills, team-building, goal-setting, and developing self-confidence. The programs typically last at least thirty days and the participants have absolutely no access to video games (and limited access to other technologies).
Complete removal of game for an extended period of time in a wilderness environment with an emphasis on personal responsibly and character development.
Very expensive (again) and a limited number of programs are available. There are few programs specifically for computer game addiction and participants generally come with a wide variety of behavioral problems. Wilderness therapy is generally only offered for children and teens.
Yes. Most people can and do play in moderation. They play games for casual entertainment, as a way to relax, and to socialize with friends. However, there are those who are far more likely to become addicted to computer games. For these people, certain games (very often MMOs) appear to present a high risk for addiction and may need to be avoided (adults) or banned (children) in order to prevent unhealthy gaming habits.