Does Your Teen Have a Video Game Addiction?

4727097556 5d6ae1f7cc b 300x195Video games are now ingrained into our society, used by children, teens, and adults alike. Video games can be a fun, interesting way to pass the time, but where’s the line? This activity can transform from being a harmless pastime into something much more dangerous: a video game addiction.

Photo source: flickr user Jason Devaun

Is a video game addiction really serious?

There have been multiple cases across the world that exemplify the worst that can come out of a video game addiction. In one case, a young man, only 21 years old, was addicted to the point of not sleeping or eating, eventually leading to his death. Cases like these are rare, but they can happen to your teen if their video game addiction is left ignored.
According to DSM5, playing video games compulsively is now a recognized disorder because of the emergence of video game addictions in modern society. In a national study by Iowa State University, 8 percent of youth, ages 8 to 18, exhibited pathological patterns of video game play. This suggests that video game addiction can be a real issue for many adolescents in the US.

What are the risks for developing a video game addiction?

Parts of the brain associated with reward activate when you earn points or get to the next level in a video game which releases the “happy” chemical dopamine, this is what makes video games fun to play. But for some teens, current conditions and disorders make tapping into that reward system a risk to developing a video game addiction.
A few reasons your teenager may be more susceptible to becoming addicted to video games include:

  • Depression/anxiety: Often teens with depression and/or anxiety seek to escape their current situations, video games give them that outlet. This can become addictive, though, and even increase their depression and anxiety.
  • Low Self-Esteem: Teens with low self-esteems sometimes play video games to make their character in a game who they want to be in real life, or they feel that they can accomplish more in the virtual world than they can in real life.
  • Big changes in life: For example, moving from a place you’ve been your whole life to a completely new area can make adolescents uncomfortable and unsure of themselves. Video games often offer a place that’s stable and that they can control, making it more appealing compared to the real world.

How to get help

“At the simplest level, healthy enthusiasms add to life and addictions take away from it.” –Mark Griffiths, Psychologist

Many treatments exist in order to help teenagers deal with various addictions, including video game addiction. These treatments are not all made equally, though. Finding the program that fits for your child is pertinent to them developing full and healthy lives.
Trails Carolina could be the perfect program for your struggling teen. Trails Carolina uses comprehensive and research-based therapies in order to provide the best treatment and results possible. Through wilderness therapy, family therapy, and individual therapy, your child can be led back onto a positive path that will benefit them in the future.
For more information on how to help your teen with video game addiction, contact Trails Carolina at 800-975-7303.

Posted in
Avatar of Jeremy Whitworth

Jeremy Whitworth

As Executive Director at Trails Carolina, a leading wilderness therapy program for youth and teens, I oversee operations and collaborate with our leadership team. Since 2022, I've also hosted the Common Ground Podcast for parents: With a background in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education, I've managed adventure-based therapeutic programs across the US and Canada. My experiences in competitive athletics and adventure sports have honed my leadership, risk assessment, and decision-making skills, which I apply to running a successful business like Trails Carolina.

Get started today

Contact us today to learn how Trails Carolina can help your family

Contact Us LP

Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


Discover If Trails Is The Right Program For Your Child

Take our short online assessment and help us better understand how we can help your family.

A teen stands at the meeting point of two trails in the forest, one leading higher towards the light and one leading down into darkness

Top 5 Common Myths About Wilderness Therapy For Youth: Understanding The History and Today’s Reality

Today, families have access to supportive, safe, and nurturing therapeutic treatment programs. Modern wilderness therapy programs, like Trails Carolina, are far from the punitive boot camps they are often portrayed as. 
A red-headed young woman sits on a hilltop overlooking forested mountains in front of her.

Treatment For Anxiety In Teens: How Wilderness Therapy Can Help

At Trails Carolina, we will give your child the skills to manage anxiety in real-time as soon as they arrive on our campus. They will very quickly gain a sense of belonging at Trails because of the sense of community that naturally occurs with the other students who are dealing with the common struggles of learning to manage adolescent anxiety.
Treating Oppositional Defiant Disorder - A teen boy in a beanie and a sweatshirt glowers at the viewer in the woods.

Dealing with Defiance: Six Tips for Decreasing Defiant Behavior

Most parents know what is like to live with a defiant teenager. Teens often feel inclined to push buttons and test the limits enforced upon them. This can be extremely frustrating for parents and create a constant power struggle within the home. The teenage years are when one is trying to figure out where they…
family reuniting - trails carolina reviews
Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.