Video Game Addiction in Teens : Effects on the Teen Brain

gamepad 1532528 1280Most parents are used to seeing glowing screens as they walk by their teenager’s room. Whether it’s checking Facebook in the morning or playing Call of Duty late into the night, our children’s brains are being constantly stimulated by these devices. Research shows that teens are spending up to eight hours on electronic devices every day, and that amount of use can lead to video addiction in teens.

What Happens to the Brain While Gaming

Intense action and shooting games tap into the fight or flight response in teen’s brains. The overload of stimuli causes stress to increase and this hyperarousal leaves the teen mentally depleted.
This can cause lead to a shortened attention span, impulsiveness, and lowered ability to deal with frustration. As parents, we remember what it’s like to have an overstimulated toddler. Meltdowns and tantrums galore. But we can sometimes forget that older kids can be overstimulated too. Have you ever noticed your teen’s behavior after a particularly long gaming session? Chances are they act groggy or short tempered.

Signs of Video Game Addiction in Teens

Do you ever find yourself dreading the battle of asking your teen to turn off their game at the end of the evening? Are they overly emotional and adamant that they need to get to the next level? This may be a sign of video game addiction. Some of the other signs and symptoms may be:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Migraines
  3. Lying about the amount of time they’re playing video games
  4. Isolation from others to spend more time gaming.
  5. Feeling restless or irritable when unable to play


How Trails Carolina Can Help

If you feel that video addiction in teens is something your family may be struggling with, Trails Carolina can help.
Trails Carolina offers wilderness therapy programs for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about teenage gaming addiction help at Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today.

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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.

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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


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