How families can combat video game addiction at home

People are paying thousands of dollars to get their kids into video game addiction rehab centers.

There are plenty of positives to video games, and many people are able to play them while handling other priorities in life.

But, how would you know if your kid is addicted to video games?

The signs are pretty clear.

They may be out of shape physically and may be struggling with their mental health.

They also may start avoiding social contact with others to play games, or they’ll struggle to handle priorities like school work or chores.

With that said, it’s important to understand how your kids can avoid a video game addiction without spending thousands of dollars.

Co-Founder of reSTART Rehab said all kinds of addiction need some sort of outpatient treatment.

READ: Giving you an inside look at video game addiction rehab

But, there are some other remedies, too.

“Parents understand not to hand drugs and alcohol to their kids, but they don’t understand that video games for instance are very addictive,” Cash said.

You may be thinking drugs and alcohol just can’t compare to something like a video game.

And that’s true to an extent– but you have to understand what it is that video games are doing to your kids.

“I think it’s really helpful to understand that all addictions have certain things in common,” Cash said. “It involves activation of the pleasure pathways in the brain, be it through ingested chemicals or very pleasurable activity.”

It’s a pleasure.

Your kids are getting some kind of satisfaction out of it.

So, if they play video games for hours on end, several days a week, then they may start looking for that type of satisfaction in everything else they do.

“In order to achieve desired effect, you’re going to have to do more, do something that gives you even more of a release of dopamine, opiates, and other neurochemicals that are involved in the process,” Cash said.

So, that desire for more pleasure wont just go away on it’s own.

You have to take it away from them.

“Once you stop the addictive behavior you can really begin to look at what’s underneath there and driving all this,” Cash said.

Cash said it takes baby steps.

If you think your child is addicted, then consider taking their games away from them for two weeks or a month.

It won’t be easy at first, but you have to expect that blacklash from your kids.

“What parents need to do is tolerate their kids anger, because if a kid is addicted to something and you take it away, of course the child is going to be very upset while the child is going through withdrawal,” Cash said.

But, over time that anger will pass, and they might just thank you for it in the end.

“Once that period of withdrawal is finished and things settle down again, time and again we hear of kids that are grateful for their parents having set those limits that are needed,” Cash said.

READ: How one local family says they’re combating video game addiction