Do you have a problem with using internet gaming?

Have you ever asked yourself “Am I addicted to gaming”?

Is gaming taking over your life?

Are you worried that your teenage son or daughter is addicted to Fortnite?

Are you concerned that your young person is addicted to World of Warcraft (WoW)? addicted to League of Legends (LoL)?


I can help.

What is internet gaming addiction?

Only very recently has internet gaming disorder been recognised as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organisation. My personal stance is that there is nothing inherently wrong about gaming as an activity (online or offline). However, excessive gaming that interferes with your life can become a problem. Some questions to ask yourself about your gaming habits over the past year:

  1. Do I have trouble keeping control over my gaming habits?
  2. Do I prioritise gaming over important life interests and responsibilities?
  3. Do I find myself increasing my gaming despite negative consequences?

When should I seek help for my problematic gaming?

Currently there are no freely available, short, self-assessment tools that you can use to give you an idea when you should seek help. There are some tools such as the IGD-20 that might assist a clinical diagnosis but will require appropriate interpretation by a qualified mental health professional.

Informally, I often use the following rules of thumb when asking about excessive gaming:

  1. Is gaming interfering with your work, health and relationships?
  2. Are you experiencing distress about you gaming?
  3. Have you have been unsuccessful in your attempts to reduce or manage your gaming?

If you responded “yes” to more than one of the questions, you may benefit from an opinion from a psychologist or other mental health professional.

What causes a gaming problem?

There are a variety of reasons why you might have started a gaming session. You might be elevating your mood, escaping from stressful situations or just for entertainment. If you’ve gamed online for more than 6 months, it’s likely you’re part of a  community or become a part of a clan which makes your gaming more meaningful to you. On top of that, you’re likely very skilled at your favourite games. These are some of the reasons that make it difficult for gamers to “simply stop”.

Research also suggests that the family plays a huge role in the relative risk and recovery of someone who struggles with excessive gaming or gaming addiction. For most, the problematic part of the gaming, is that you don’t stop a gaming session when you would like to. In therapy, we’ll unpack, hone in and break up what keeps you playing and work towards consolidating other important life activities.

Treatment of problematic gaming and internet gaming addiction

An effective treatment for internet gaming disorder / addiction is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which I practise. It is worth noting that problematic gaming can occur alongside other issues such as anxiety, depression or substance use which can also be treated with therapy. In some cases, excessive gaming might be related to an underlying issue (such as ADHD or etc) and might benefit from a collaboration with your GP or psychiatrist.

Ready for therapy?

Let's work towards overcoming your struggles with gaming

Online appointments only
(02) 9030-0301
Fax: (02) 8367-5120

If you’re not quite ready, visit my blog and you’ll get some helpful tips for managing your addictive habits, maintaining abstinence or controlled use.

Luke Vu is a registered psychologist practising in Maroubra Junction, supporting those who struggle with substance and online addictions. Call me or send me a message today.