By Andrew Morkes

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Copyright © 2023 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in the United States of America First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-4719-8 Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4222-4727-3 ebook ISBN: 978-1-4222-7098-1 Cataloging-in-Publication Data on file with the Library of Congress Developed and Produced by National Highlights, Inc. Editor: Andrew Morkes Cover and Interior Design: Tara Raymo • CreativelyTara Layout: Priceless Digital Media, LLC Publisher’s Note: Websites listed in this book were active at the time of publication. The publisher is not responsible for websites that have changed their address or discontinued operation since the date of publication. The publisher reviews and updates the websites each time the book is reprinted.

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Introduction. ................................................................. 7 Chapter 1: What is Video Game Addiction?. ......................11 Chapter 2: The Negative Effects of Video Game Addiction ...................................35 Chapter 3: Treating Video Game Addiction. ......................47 Chapter 4: The Impact on Loved Ones..............................61 Glossary of Key Terms....................................................72 Further Reading and Internet Resources..........................75 Index............................................................................76 Credits..........................................................................79 Author’s Biography........................................................80 KEY ICONS TO LOOK FOR: Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more! Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.



We live in stressful times. The COVID-19 pandemic, political unrest, and other ongoing challenges (such as poverty, racism, serious damage to the environment, job loss, financial distress, and the illnesses and deaths of loved ones) have raised stress to record levels. “These compounding stressors are having real consequences on our minds and bodies,” according to the American Psychological Association, which says that these and other problems are causing a “national mental health crisis” in the United States. The situation is the same or even worse in other countries around the world. As a result, many people are abusing drugs and alcohol more frequently and/or engaging in other addictive behaviors (such as gambling, overeating, and spending hours and hours using social media or playing video games) to reduce stress and blunt the pain of the loss of loved ones, relationships, homes, or jobs, or other serious life events. One example is the rising number of drug overdoses, which have been fueled by the growing use and spread of the deadly opioid fentanyl. Nearly 100,000 Americans died from overdoses from June 2020 to June 2021—an 18.2 percent increase from June 2019 to June 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other addictions—such as problem gambling or spending too much



time on social media—are not typically physically dangerous, but they can damage our mental health, cause us to lose focus on important things in life (e.g., our families, relationships, faith, or careers), and otherwise downgrade the quality of our lives. For those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol or who have unhealthy relationships with food, gambling, or even shopping, gaming, or social media, it can seem daunting to overcome these challenges, especially given the ongoing stressors in their lives. But there is hope for anyone who feels that they are controlled by an addiction or who seeks to otherwise rebalance their lives. They will have a bright future if they seek help with their addictions from friends and families, and, most significantly, from counselors, physicians, and clinicians (such as psychologists and psychiatrists). Each book in the Detoxing from series spotlights a major addiction; discusses the negative physical and mental effects of the addiction on the addict, as well as its effects on family and other loved ones; and provides an overview of treatment strategies for the addiction. Stories of those who are battling addictions are also featured to humanize these issues and help readers better understand that anyone—from young and old, to the wealthy, middle class, or the poor, to those who have a PhD or who are still in high school—can develop toxic relationships with drugs, alcohol, gambling, and/or other behaviors. The path to detoxing from drugs, alcohol, problem gambling, excessive video game usage, shopping, social media use, and other challenges will not be easy—and there may be bumps in the road. But there will be happiness, healing, and the opportunity for personal growth and success for those who continue walking on the road of recovery.



augmented reality: a computer-generated system that combines a virtual environment with imaginary elements that are introduced to a real environment; examples include Snapchat Lenses and the game Pokémon Go diagnostic: referring to detection of a medical condition e-sports: a term that is used to describe organized competitive video gaming events in which people of all ages compete against one another live for the chance to win cash prizes; top players can earn more than $1 million a year therapist: a licensed professional who can help with treatment therapies (someone who is licensed has been given permission by the government or another regulatory body to work in a particular profession or to operate a business) virtual reality: a computer-generated experience that takes place within a simulated environment using headgear or other equipment that shuts out the real world


1 Chapter

What Is Video Game Addiction? What Are Computer Games? Computer games are interactive forms of entertainment that are played on video game consoles, computers, arcade consoles, and smartphones and other mobile computing devices. Games can be played by connecting a cartridge to a game console, by downloading software onto a digital device, by playing on social media sites such as Facebook, by playing games that have been inserted into a game console at the factory, by using virtual reality or augmented reality devices, or by visiting gaming websites. Some games are free, while others require a fee to play (or to purchase special weapons, protective gear, or other resources that provide a benefit during game play). There are many game genres (or types) such as adventure, role playing, strategy, sports, and fighting. Hybrid games incorporate two or more game genres. There are games for single players, small groups of gamers, and many players. In fact, massively multiplayer online games feature up to hundreds of thousands of people playing the same game over the Internet at the same time. Video Game Statistics The first video games were developed in the 1960s and 1970s, but the format we know today became popular in the last two decades or so.


Today, video games are extremely popular. In 2021, Americans spent a whopping $60.4 billion on video games, consoles, and accessories, according to The NPD Group, a data analytics firm. That was an 8 percent increase from 2020. Industry experts believe that much of this growth was tied to the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted many people to shelter-in-place and increase their video game usage.

People of all ages enjoy playing video games.


Detoxing from Video Games

Sports games rank among the most popular types of video games.

Here are some statistics from the Entertainment Software Association’s 2021 Essential Facts About the Video Game Industry that will help you get a better idea of the popularity of video games in the United States. Sixty-seven percent of adults (ages 18 and older) were video game players (or gamers). Seventy-six percent of kids (ages 18 and younger) played video games. Seventy-four percent of Americans had at least one video game player in their household.


What Is Video Game Addiction?


Here are some of the most popular video game genres. Some games feature more than one genre. Action games: Those in which the player is in control and is at the center of game action. Examples include Grand Theft Auto and Super Mario Odyssey . Action-adventure games: Those that involve completing game long quests and/or overcoming obstacles to reach a series of goals or a main goal. These games often feature puzzle- and riddle-solving and fighting sequences. Adventure games: Those in which the player must interact with other characters and game elements to solve challenges and reach a goal. Casual games: Video games that provide users with a short and relaxing experience. These games have simple rules and do not require many skills to be able to play. Asteroids , Bejeweled , Galaga , Space Invaders , Tetris , and Farmville are examples of casual video games. Puzzle games: Those that require users to solve a problem or answer a series of questions to continue on to more challenging levels. Role-playing games: A game genre in which the player takes on the role of a character or characters in a game. Shooter games: A computer game genre in which the principal goal is to shoot at one’s enemies and otherwise engage in warfare (e.g., throwing grenades, fighting with swords). Examples include Fortnite and Call of Duty . Simulation games: Those that seek to emulate, or simulate, a real situation or event.


Detoxing from Video Games

Social games: Those that are simple to play and have been developed to be used on social networks and smartphones. Examples include Angry Birds and Candy Crush Saga . Sports games: Those that simulate real sports such as football, basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, ski racing, pool, darts, and swimming. Strategy games: Those that require players to use strategies and tactics to overcome challenges.

There were nearly 227 million gamers across all ages. Gaming was popular with people from all age groups. Here is a breakdown of video game players by age in 2021: • Under 18: 20 percent

• 18–34: 38 percent • 35–44: 14 percent • 45–54: 12 percent • 55–64: 9 percent • 65+: 7 percent

The Benefits of Video Games Video games are played for both fun and training purposes (in educational and business settings). Ninety percent of gamers surveyed by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) in 2021 said that video games brought them joy through play, 87 percent said


What Is Video Game Addiction?

Many young men build relationships by playing video games together.


Detoxing from Video Games

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