When such games (Mobile Games) will become addiction for children and adolescents there it becomes a hectic challenge for parents and family members to handle their children from such things. Here professionals (clinical psychologists) can play a vital role and help parents as well addicted people from these problem. Psychological interventions are important in this.
Anxiety and stress are common among people with gaming addiction, influenced more by the person’s appraisal of his or her circumstances than by factors related to the disease itself such as severity of symptoms or prognosis. Its aim is to prevent the addiction from becoming chronic and to enable the individual to return his social life as soon as possible. It seeks to ensure that the individual will be helped to make an adequate readjustment and return to full participation at home and community setting with a minimum of delay and difficulty.
Most doctors are generally not very comfortable in handling patient’s real life stress. They have difficulty in taking the role of a counselor or psychotherapist. This is largely because undergraduate and post graduate medical training does not prepare the future doctor or specialist to recognize and care for the emotional needs of his patients. Here clinical psychologist plays a vital role. They use a wide array of psychological approaches in practice:
• Psychotherapy/ Counseling
Psychotherapy/ counseling in the gaming addiction setting are shaped by the realities of the patient’s situation, since all patients referred are dealing with psychological problems. The patient’s state of physical and mental health will determine both the type of therapeutic work possible and the focus of such work. Tailoring the therapeutic intervention to the patient’s specific needs and flexibility in altering and adapting therapeutic strategies over time in line with the patient’s changing needs is essential. Although periods of treatment may range from single session to long term, supportive, insight oriented, group, family, cognitive and behavioral techniques have all been used successfully in a gaming setting, with measurable impact on well-being. Clinical psychologist attempts to restore the emotional equilibrium. It involves listening to a person in distress about his difficulties, understanding the nature of his problem and talking to him.
• Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) is an intervention and counseling approach specifically designed to evoke internally motivated change. MET is often combined with other forms of counseling for addicted people. Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET) works by helping addicted people learn how to change their own thoughts and behaviors.This approach aims to evoke rapid and internally motivated change, rather than guide the patient stepwise through the recovery process. Motivational interviewing principles are used to strengthen motivation and build a plan for change. Coping strategies for high-risk situations are suggested and discussed with the patient. In subsequent sessions, the therapist monitors change, reviews cessation strategies being used, and continues to encourage commitment to change.
• Relaxation training:
Relaxation training is a simple psychological technique which can be taught to patients quickly and then practiced at home with audiotapes. It is simple to learn but requires regular practice. Progressive muscle relaxation, developed by Jacobson and modified by Wolpe is the simplest and most popular method used for relaxation. Another technique is autogenic training, originally developed by Shultz and Luthe,“ is a form of self-hypnosis. The subjects are instructed to close their eyes, breathe deeply and concentrate on the right hand while thinking ‘my right hand is getting heavier and heavier or abdominal breathing can be used for those who are facing difficulty in learning other relaxation techniques.
• Supportive psychotherapy:
Through this therapy clinical psychologists aims at enhancing the already existing capabilities of the client to deal with the problem. They focus on the problem at the present and difficulties the client has in facing them. Simple psychological skills can be employed by most healthcare professionals to help patients navigate their way through the problem process. A variety of different forms of counseling are used throughout medical services both in primary and secondary care. Educational counseling services are widespread.they are used in both primary and secondary prevention programs in which counseling skills are utilized to deliver information, help people understand and assimilate the information and change behavior.
• Cognitive behavior therapy:
Many experts recommend cognitive behavioral therapy as the ideal treatment for game addiction. The therapy allows the addict to shift their thoughts, replacing those that lead to compulsive gaming with healthier thinking patterns. As its name implies, cognitive behavioral therapy allows a person to modify their thoughts, feelings and ultimately behavior for the better. Therapists consider addiction a belief or way of thinking that leads to irrational, often unhealthy behaviors. They start treatment by identifying and focusing on the thoughts that start the chain of addiction and help the addict begin their transition from there.
• Mindfulness therapy:
Mood and anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders in the India and are frequently co-morbid with other mental and medical disorders. Common symptoms of those diagnosed with psychiatric disorders include depressed mood, anxiety, tension, uncomfortable thoughts, and pain. It has been demonstrated that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is effective in modulating the aforementioned symptoms. Additionally mindfulness-based therapy has been shown to be effective in treating anxiety and mood difficulties. Unfortunately, the length of such interventions has been a challenge to implementing them in acute settings, such as in a consultation service.
• Problem Solving: problem solving therapy is a clinical intervention approach aimed at increasing an individual’s ability to cope with stressful problems. It is based on the observation that emotional symptoms are generally induced by problems of living, and has its theoretical roots in cognitive approaches to depressive disorders.
• Family Therapy. For adults addicted to games, family therapy is rare - although couples counseling may occasionally be appropriate. For teenagers and children however, family therapy can be very helpful. For families choosing this option, the therapist can be expected to look at the family system and interconnected family dynamics as a whole, and create treatment plans that incorporate all family members - not just the one identified as having the "problem".
Tips for Parents
Following are the tips which will be helpful for both parents and other family members to prevent children from such problems. Parents can keep certain aspects in mind to ensure that children can enjoy the games without any problems.
• Always provide emotional support and spend much time with your child anddon’t allow your child to play games when they are with you.
• Before downloading or buying a game on play store or letting your child play it, check the rating, the age limit, and any content warnings provided with it.
• Keep fixed and restricted times for playing games, in matters of time as well as the type of games played. This includes playing games at a friend’s place, too.
• Make sure the gaming area is in public view and you can easily spot the screen from afar.
• If you are a gamer, enforce the same rules for yourself so that the kid learns from you and allow your kids to play games only after they complete their homework and other tasks.
• Make other physical activities or outdoor sports a part of the child’s life as well.
• If children show some aggressive behavior, as parent, you must set boundaries and explain that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. Be firm and demonstrate that such behavior carries consequences like time-out or being kept away from a favorite activity for the day.
• Also, teach your child alternative ways to express his feelings – ways which are socially acceptable.
• You can help your child develop healthy food habits by encouraging her to eat wholesome foods at set meal times and making sure she finishes the food served on her plate. Remember to enforce the rules you set.
• Communication between you and your child always helps in a difficult situation. When the child behaves in an unacceptable manner, stay calm. Talk to him and explain why the behavior is unacceptable.
• Encourage them to pursue other hobbies and interests, particularly sports and other physical activities, be a good role model by participating in regular exercise and limit their game playing.
• If you think the child is upset, encourage him to talk about what is making him feel that way. However, if you notice that bad behavior occurs frequently and seems to worsen, it is advisable to seek professional help.
• If you know your child is telling a lie, respond calmly and encourage her to tell the truth. Explain to her with some simple examples the difference between truth and lies.
• If you know that your child is disobedient.It is important that you motivate your child to listen to you and obey you. Praise him when he is obedient. Explain to him that he is proving to be more responsible when he is obedient than when he refuses to listen to you. One way of getting your child out of the habit of unthinking defiance is to offer him a choice of options.
(Author is a Clinical Psychologist)