Archive for: Addiction

Video Game Addiction: Scope of the Problem

It is difficult to estimate the number of U.S. children impacted by gaming addiction. It is an emerging area of concern for public health researchers. According to the American Medical Association, up to 90% of U.S. children regularly play video games. Most of these children are not addicted. But as many as 15% of them may be. That means that as many as 5 million U.S. children may be addicted to video games.

“Video games may look innocent, but they can be as addictive as gambling or drugs and just as hard to kick.” — Keith Bakker, founder of the  Detox Center for Video Game Addiction

 

 

More info: Online Gaming Addiction

The Power of Recovery

For the past several weeks and months we have been hearing a lot about the problems caused by substance abuse and addiction. The people that have died, the bizarre and sometimes offensive behavior, and those having legal and professional issues seem to be in the news. We hear and talk about them but rarely hear and talk about those that have had success in recovery from substance abuse.  Substance abuse treatment works.

Here is one person’s story:
He was 17 and had a good life.  He loved school, sports, church, fishing, hunting, and most of all his family.  He loved life and all it brought to him.  Then shortly before high school graduation his world changed.  His mother died in an auto accident, he was driving.  The trauma, grief and guilt were so overwhelming.  Within a month he drank alcohol for the first time and it brought the relief he was seeking.  Finally he could cope with life again, just have a drink.

College started in the fall and his drinking increased.  Alcohol helped him cope with the change and it took away the pain he was feeling. When he went home for winter break he again experienced the unexpected.  His father died of a heart attack as he was giving him CPR in the family home. The emotions were extreme and confusing.  Alcohol was there to help.

He moved back to the family home to live with his sisters so they would be able to live as a family.  The effects of emotional pain, grief, trauma, and guilt led to the experimentation with marijuana. It was great!  The pain would go away, for while.

For the next decades this is how he dealt with life’s complications, with alcohol and drugs.  Even though he was able to complete college, hold down jobs, get married, have children the emotions that come with trauma and loss were never addressed.  He was living an unhealthy life filled with lies, deceptions, alcohol, drugs, shame and guilt.

After 27 years of using unhealthy coping skills, drugs and alcohol, and denial that he needed help he accepted the family support and encouragement (ultimatum) to get that help. Dealing with the issues in his life was now to take a different course.

Changing course in his life included going to an outpatient treatment program for his substance abuse. He accepted that he did not want alcohol and drugs to dictate his feelings and behavior.  For the 6 months in outpatient treatment he received the understanding, guidance and support that he needed. He started to network with others and participated in support groups. He changed his course in life.

 

He will be the first to tell you that change is not easy and not everything gets better quickly.  He will tell you that if you can be honest, open-minded, and willing, life does get much better. Recovery is a process not an event, some things change quickly and others need more work.  His life continues to evolve by doing so. It has been seventeen years since entering that treatment program and by getting the counseling and using the recovery tools, he has not used alcohol or drugs since. He feels life is great again. Treatment works! Recovery saved his life.

This is my story, a true story of life and the story of changing course. I am Gary Nelson a person in long term recovery since 1997. I accepted help in dealing with the unexpected events in life, facing the addiction and co-occurring issues.  I now again love life and all it brings to me, the outdoors, golf, church, time with friends, and helping others seeking recovery. I am a sober husband, dad and Papa. There’s nothing better than that! There are approximately 23 million other people with long term recovery in the United States today.  We are the anonymous people, your neighbors, employers, your healthcare workers, and your friends.

Substance abuse treatment today includes addressing co-occurring issues in life.  These may include mental health issues of depression or anxiety, relationship issues, or additional behavioral addictions.  Research has provided an understanding of why the disease is so destructive to our brain and how miraculous the healing process is.  For more information on the disease of addiction go to:  http://www.drugabuse.gov/  http://www.samhsa.gov/

Gary Nelson, CCDP

Internet Gaming Addiction: Warning Signs

The following signs are indicators that a child may be addicted to video games. Behavioral addictions begin with enjoyable activities. Games are fun. They offer entertainment and escape, often meaningful social interactions. But when behaviors become compulsions, when games become something a child must do  rather than something that they simply enjoy doing, parents need to take action. Here are signs to look for:

PREOCCUPATION WITH GAMING

Young gamers invest a significant amount of attention on gaming, even when they are not playing. They think about playing when they are not. Feel intense anticipation for their next opportunity to play. Gamers miss school assignments or social engagements due to time spent gaming.

 

LYING OR HIDING GAMING USE

Gaming addicts can spend as much as ten to fifteen hours a day immersed in the gaming world. Most parents would rightly forbid this type of time investment. Addicted gamers may lie to parents or friends about what they are doing online. They may say they are working on assignments for school, for example, when they are actually playing World of Warcraft or Guildwars.

 

SOCIAL WITHDRAWAL

Personality changes due to game play. Outgoing, sports-oriented types may become reclusive, introverted. Gamers may become withdrawn, have feelings of alienation in “normal” social environments: school, family, church.

 

DEFENSIVENESS & ANGER

Gamers may become defensive about their need to play the game. They may react to game-play limits and rules as if they were threats to their very lives. May become angry, irrational, even violent.

 

PSYCHOLOGICAL WITHDRAWAL

Gamers experience a very real sense of loss when they are unable to play their games. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, for them to shake this sense of loss. Gamers may become anxious, irritable, or depressed if they lose access to a game.

 

CONTINUED GAMING DESPITE NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES

This is a classic symptom of both behavioral and substance addictions. Gamers who experience negative consequences directly related to their gaming, for example, missing an important test because they were playing video games all night, but are unable to change their behaviors to avoid these negative consequences may be addicted to gaming.

Parents who are concerned that their children may be addicted to video games may want to consult with an addiction expert.

 

Innovative, Creative, and Inspiring

Innovative, creative, and inspiring are tags used to search for videos on TED.com, the source for videos on almost anything. While it is nice to find something something funny to watch while you are at work, here are some videos that might spark your attention in the “tag” areas. Check them out:

Sarah Kay
“How many lives can you live?”
https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_kay_how_many_lives_can_you_live
Sarah Kay uses two spoken-word poems to explain her love/hate relationship with living one life. She shares her hope to rush and hear everyone’s stories and to share her story so that she can see life through another person’s frame of reference as many times as she can, so as to not miss out on anything that others have to offer. Sarah ends her talk with another spoken-word poem about the power of experience and living lives of our own and of others in a special way.


Ash Beckham
“We are all hiding something. Let’s find the courage to open up.”
https://www.ted.com/talks/ash_beckham_we_re_all_hiding_something_let_s_find_the_courage_to_open_up
Ash Beckham discusses the closets that keep us from opening up and sharing our story. The story that makes us shut the door to the closet of secrets and pushes others away. Although she tells her own story of having a hard conversation about who she was to a little girl in a diner, Ash sends an important message about connection. That message is that the safety of covering up secrets and hiding from owning our story scares us into believing that we are alone. What we are is different and unique, but we are never alone in our struggles.

“All a closet is… is a hard conversation.”  –Ash Beckham

 

Colin Stokes
“How movies teach manhood”

http://www.ted.com/talks/colin_stokes_how_movies_teach_manhood#t-46850
Colin Stokes uses two classic movies, The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars, to illustrate the differences between masculine and feminine ideals presented by mainstream video media that play continuously throughout a child’s upbringing. These ideals in the form of movie protagonists in Disney and Pixar films can be masculine or feminine, but the message of courage transcends much deeper than hero or heroine. Stokes challenges parents to see the journey of the movies to show children themes that are more impactful and universal than fighting the bad guy or saving the princess; they involve friendships, self-discovery, and teamwork.

Erika McCaghren

Addiction Recovery: Baby Steps

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction requires a level of self-honesty that many people struggling with alcohol or drug abuse find challenging, if not impossible, to achieve. For this reason, it is good to proceed cautiously, gently. What starts as a tiny glimmer of truth in the mind may grow into the strong conviction one needs to get truly honest and seek help. We’re looking for a statement that the addicted individual can recognize as truth.

Something like this:

  • I really, really love drugs and alcohol. Maybe I need them. But they may be negatively impacting my life.

 

Nothing in there about change. Nothing in there about what, if anything, will be done to fix the problem. Just a simple statement of the truth.

The fist step is someone seeing and understanding this type of truth in his or her own life. This is not as easy as it sounds. Some people never develop the ability to see the truth in their own lives. The second step is for the addicted individual to share this truth with someone who loves him or her. This is the very earliest part of addiction recovery.

Drug Use and Abuse: A Christian Perspective

Drugs affect our ability to perceive our surroundings. Our senses, in addition to the entire Universe and everything in it, were created by God as an expression of infinite compassion, love, and creativity. Our challenge, as humans, is to use our perceptions to determine our our place in God’s creation. Senses act in cooperation with Spirit to help us determine right from wrong, good from bad, to help us live Christ-like lives.

When we abuse drugs, we are trying to improve God’s creation in a way that leads us away from God’s Truth. It is a short-cut, an attempt to cheat. We are not supposed to feel good just because we want to to. The service of self is simply not a step toward closer communion with the Creator.

 

CDC Study Reveals High Prevalance of Binge Drinking

A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a significant increase in the number of U.S. adults who regularly binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women.

The most shocking revelation: one in six adults binge drink four on more times per month. The health consequences from this type of overindulgence can be significant. This type of drinking can also lead to dependency and addiction.

The complete study: CDC Vital Signs: Binge Drinking

What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction is real. It is a behavioral addiction rooted in brain chemistry. This does not mean that sex addicts are not responsible for their behavior. Like substance addictions (drugs and alcohol) or other behavioral addictions (gambling and gaming), recovery is possible. Lasting change is possible.

The Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) is a tool developed to help professionals assist clients in determining the presence of addiction. Is this behavior a problem or an addiction? An important question.

Here’s a sample of the sort of things the SAST tests for. The presence of any of the following criteria may indicate sexual addiction:

  • Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses despite negative consequences (emotional, financial, relational).
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop or alter sexual behaviors.
  • Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities.
  • Need to increase intensity, frequency, or riskiness of sexual behaviors.
  • Other facets of life (recreational, family, social, career) are diminished due to sexual behaviors or the pursuit of sexual behaviors.
  • Feelings that sexual behaviors are compulsions rather than choices.

 

 

Long Term Physical Effects of Alcohol Addiction

The longer a person abuses alcohol over time, the chances for developing alcohol dependence and experiencing the effects of alcohol abuse increase dramatically. Physical alcohol dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is interrupted, by tolerance to the effects of alcohol abuse and by the presence of alcohol related illnesses. The most severe form of alcoholism is alcohol dependency which can eventually lead to death. Years of alcohol consumption and abuse can affect many body organs. The liver does most of the work breaking down alcohol for the body. Alcohol destroys the liver’s ability to regenerate cells which leads to progressive inflammatory injury to the liver. Eventually cirrhosis of the liver occurs. Malnutrition can develop due to a reduction in appetite, consuming empty calories that are void of any nutritional value in alcohol and anadequate absorption of nutruents in the intestinal tract. Other long term effects of alcohol abuse include heart muscle damage, nerve damage, damage to the brain, heart problems, erectile dysfunction in men, insomnia, depression, pancreatitis-chronic inflammation of the stomach and digestive organs, high blood pressure, increased cancer risks and fetal alcohol syndrome in the offspring of alcoholic women. Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is the best way to stop these physical effects of alcohol addiction before they start or stop them from worsening if they have already begun.

 

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