Category Archives: Tech Addiction

Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT)

Rapid Resolution Therapy is a gentle and effective therapeutic modality, created by Dr. John Connelly, LCSW that resolves trauma and other distress in as little as one session. Because the root causes of problems are pinpointed and cleared, positive changes endure. Negative emotions and destructive behavioral patterns are eliminated. 

Unlike other forms of treatment, with Rapid Resolution it is not necessary to relive past events or experience any pain. Rapid Resolution therapy integrates hypnosis, cognitive and playful techniques, to name a few, allowing for optimal healing through multiple levels of the mind. This type of therapy leads to dramatic improvements in thoughts, feelings and behavior. Rapid Resolution Therapy has effectively treated PTSD, other trauma/stress related disorders, anxiety, panic attacks, sleep disturbance, frozen grief, guilt, resentment and even aided in successful recovery from addiction.

Along with creating Rapid Resolution Therapy, Dr. Connelly has also founded The Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence, a non-profit (501C3) organization providing mental health professionals with state-of-the-art training in advanced clinical methods of eliminating the negative influence of trauma. You can learn more about Rapid Resolution Therapy and how to find providers in Austin, TX and all over the country by contacting me directly for a referral or by visiting the main Rapid Resolution Therapy website: www.rapidresolutiontherapy.org

Schedule a Free Consultation with: Julia Thompson:

 MSW NBCCH

TEXAS LMSW #66100

FLORIDA LCSW #SW14616

NATIONAL BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

https://juliacthompson.com/rapid-resolution-therapy

RESOURCES

Article on Army website discussing RRT:  http://bit.ly/2ZTmQxh

Ted Talks video: “Life Changing power of words.” http://bit.ly/2GZDQuw

Julia Thompson: https://juliacthompson.com/

How Video Gaming Addiction Can Harm Your Marriage

It’s no secret that drug addiction, alcoholism, and even social media addiction are among the leading causes of divorces today. However, there’s a relatively new form of addiction that has begun rearing its ugly head and is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of failed marriages; video gaming addiction.

This form of tech addiction has a profound impact on the real lives of the gamers who spend their time immersed in virtual worlds. A good illustration of the consequences of screen addiction is the wildly popular and highly addictive video game known as Fortnite. 

Fortnite took the world by storm in late 2017 and currently has 125 million players. If Fortnite was a country, it would be the 11th most populous nation in the world. This just goes to show how enthralling the game is. 

Unfortunately, it is causing problems in marriages. In fact, a popular divorce assistance website in the U.K revealed that  over 200 divorce petitions filed recently cited Fortnite specifically as being one of the reasons they wanted the divorce. 

Why are Video Games Causing Disruptions in Marriages? 

More and more people today turn to the internet when looking for an escape from the stresses of daily living. Much like how some people turn to drugs. The internet is abound with endless amusement, communication, and information. Another thing that the internet is widely utilized for is video gaming. 

Since their inception in the 1970s in arcades, video games have influenced social dynamics in the way people communicate and build relationships. Online gaming has taken this a step further as it allows you to play with or against someone thousands of miles away while seated on your couch.

In spite of its good intentions, that convenience is causing problems in marriages since the interactive nature of the game causes the player to be so dedicated to their online character and building virtual relationships with other gamers across the planet that they forget about the person they are sharing a house with. 

2016 study done on the sales, usage and demographic data of the video game industry revealed that over 60 percent of American homes have at least one individual that regularly plays video games. Moreover, over 50 percent of the people who are frequent gamers admit to utilizing the social aspect of gaming. 

And because the average age of a gamer is 35 and the average age of marriage is 25.8 for women and 28.3 for men, it is safe to presume that a lot of young marriages have some kind of video game in their homes. 

Another study found out that 75% of gamers’ spouses said that they wished that their significant other would stop putting so much of their energy into video games and put more effort into the marriage. 

Immersive Video Games 

There is a specific genre of video games known as online role-playing games. Examples of games in this genre include League Legends, Dungeons and Dragons, Everquest, and World of Warcraft. 

This genre is immersive as it requires the gamer to devote copious amounts of time developing their virtual character inside the game. Perhaps, it is because they allow the gamer to develop the ideal character that they wish they were in real life. To the gamer, especially one looking for an escape, doing this is much easier than putting in actual effort to improve themselves in the real world. 

Nonetheless, this virtual character development takes so much dedication that the gamers’ outside interests and relationships are often left in ruins. 

The other genre of video games that has cultivated a cult-like following is the first person shooter games. A popular example of such a game is Call of Duty which is a battle simulation where online gamers can face off against each other. The game is further intensified because the gamers wear headsets so they can communicate with each other as they do battle. As you can expect, the language used during such situations can be quite colorful, and the game is likely to start using such language in their dialogue in the real world. 

What’s more, violent video games have been shown to increase the actual aggression of the gamer. When you combine a lack of time for their loved one(s), curse words, and heightened aggression, the concoction that follows is one that has all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship, even without actual violence being involved.

The Risk of Addiction 

As we have noted, the immersive nature of online video games is the reason why gamers are unable to tend to the psychological, and sometimes physical, needs of their significant other. 

In fact, a study on the reasons for divorce found that of the spouses who cite unreasonable behavior as being the catalyst behind their need to end the marriage, 15 percent of them believed that their spouses put gaming before them and the relationship. 

Their need to constantly be gaming creates an impulse control problem, thereby leading to a video gaming addiction. 

Falling under the same category as screen addiction and tech addiction, video game addiction refers to an impulse control disorder that is characterized by the excessive and compulsive overuse of video games. People who suffer from this addiction will utilize the online gaming platform to connect with real people via the internet, as a substitute for real-life human connection. 

The following are some of the signs that your partner is addicted to video games: 

 They would rather be gaming than attend to you, themselves or their job. 

 They will play late into the night and are often sacrificing their sleep. Sex and nighttime conversations are often out of the question. 

 They do not want to discuss their mood or feelings. 

 They refuse to admit that there is a problem. 

 They refuse to reduce their gaming time. 

 They often forget about their commitments. 

 They consistently break their promise to spend more time with you. 

 They lash at you for ‘not understanding’ whenever you bring up the issue of their gaming compulsion. 

 They won’t consider therapy for their gaming obsession. 

Research done on the topic reveals that, at times, it is not the time spent gaming that causes problems in the marriage, but rather, it is the resulting arguments that accompany when the other spouse complains. 

Moreover, compulsive gaming causes issues such as poor marital adjustment that comes from not doing things together or having serious conversations. The result is that the bond that they had starts to weaken and eventually reaches a point where the marriage becomes insufferable. At this point, divorce is usually the only option left. 

Mental Health Problem 

Recently, the World Health Organization recognized and included video game addiction as a legitimate mental health problem. Fortnite, in particular, is one of the most cited games that have led to the addiction, affecting players of all ages, and even forcing some into rehab. Just as with any other kind of dependency, video game addiction strains a marriage in that one partner does not care about the needs of the other.

Admittedly, one can understand the allure of video games. Today’s video games, in particular, are designed to reel in the player and hook them. That is how some people get addicted. For others, they might already be having an underlying problem leading them to seek out video games and other technological distractions to feel the void inside without having to turn to something that might damage their health such as drugs. Nonetheless, an addiction is an addiction, and it will have a negative impact on your life. 

If you feel that your gaming tendencies are straining your relationship, seeking help to overcome the dependency should be your first course of action. At our Recovery Center, we help gaming addicts get control of their dependency, so they are able to get their priorities in order. Our experts will help you or your loved one through a holistic approach that not only treats the addiction but addresses the triggers so that they cannot relapse. Contact us today; we are waiting to help.

 

 

 

The connection between drug use, video games, deadly weapons and school shootings.

In the wake of school shootings by teenagers, everyone is running back and forth trying to find a possible cause to these monstrosities. Why would a ‘normal’ kid suddenly go berserk and try to end the lives of their teachers and peers?

 

While each case is different due to the various variables that could have triggered each shooter, there are things that most of them have in common and which are worth investigating. Is there a link between video games, drug abuse, and the availability of violent weapons such as guns and the shootings? This article will discuss that connection.

 

The Connection between Video Games and School Shootings

Most high school going kids are more than likely active gamers. And while video games have been shown to significantly improve visual-spatial skills, there can be too much of a good thing. Video games, especially modern ones that are mission-centered, are designed to hook the individual for hours on end. Additionally, there are so many levels or layers to a game that it might take weeks or months for one to complete just one game. And with the thousands of games available, the individual is more than likely going to have a lot on their hands. This constant playing is likely to result in a condition known as video gaming addiction.

 

In fact, the World Health Organization recently added ‘gaming disorder’ to its list of mental health conditions.

 

Gaming disorder can be used synonymously with video gaming addiction and refers to the condition where an individual loses control over their gaming habits, and they start prioritizing gaming over other interests.

 

But what does this have to do with shootings?

 

While some people play video games for purely recreational purposes, others use gaming as a coping mechanism for their stress and anxiety. As such, understanding the motivation behind the gaming is key to identifying the cause of their disorder. A study found that using gaming as a coping mechanism for stress resulted in even higher levels of stress.

 

To understand how video games are a contributory factor towards school shootings, let us look at the link between mental illnesses and school shootings.

 

The Connection between Mental Illness and School Shootings

According to the book, Gun Violence and Mental Illness, individuals who commit mass shootings are known to plan well in advance. They usually bottle up extreme feelings of anger and revenge. And because they are typically socially isolated, they tend to act alone most of the time.

 

The book further notes that there are common traits among the shooters in addition to historical factors that contribute to the massacres. In fact, a case study done on five murderers revealed that, during childhood, they began seeing people as uncaring and rejecting.

 

All subjects had been isolated or bullied during their childhoods, and they inevitably became loners who despaired over their social alienation. These led to paranoid tendencies such as grudge holding and suspiciousness.

 

Consequently, they spent a significant amount of time harboring feelings of resentment as they ruminated on past humiliations. This constant rumination eventually evolved into fantasies of violent revenge.

 

All the above are indicators of an underlying mental illness caused by the constant stress and anxiety felt by these individuals.

 

Coping Using Video Games

As a result of their social alienation, school shooters use video games as a means of coping. And they will spend hours on end playing these games. The American Psychological Association conducted a review of research and found out that individuals who play violent video games were more likely to engage in aggressive behavior.

 

If video games can foster violent behavior in mentally stable individuals, think about the impact they have on kids harboring violent revenge fantasies.

 

In addition to increasing an individual’s levels of aggression, violent video games have been found to desensitize gamers to violence. As a result, they have a lower value for human life. Consequently, the gamer’s lost empathy makes them more likely to take human life without the feelings of remorse that would affect a ‘normal’ person.

 

Drug Abuse and School Shootings

One of the more prominent mental health watchdogs, CCHR (the Citizens Commission on Human Rights), has been investigating school shootings since the Columbine High School incidence in 1999. The body’s investigation into school shootings reveals that at least 36 school shootings have been orchestrated by individuals using or withdrawing from the use of psychotropic drugs resulting in 80 fatalities and over 170 wounded.

 

Psychiatric drugs are typically prescribed to individuals with mental health problems to help them cope with stress or anxiety. Individuals might eventually end up developing a dependency on these drugs. Consequently, they start abusing the drugs, and drug addiction follows.

 

When the drug addiction becomes a real problem, withdrawing is usually the next logical step. However, a 2012 study published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics revealed that withdrawing from psychotropic drugs can lead to violent and aggressive behavior.

 

Video Games, Mental Illness, and Drug Abuse

Most school shooters usually have an underlying form of mental illness. Even though the specifics may vary among shooters, most of them, however; have been found to have had a troubling childhood. Often bullied or isolated, these individuals become loners who use video games as a coping mechanism. All while fantasizing on violent revenge.

Video games, on the other hand, have been found to increase the levels of aggression in the gamer while desensitizing them to violence. This results in reduced empathy which makes the person more likely to commit a shooting.

 

Psychotropic drugs are used to help individuals with mental illnesses to better cope with their stress and anxiety. And due to the high levels of stress these individuals have to cope with daily, they are more than likely going to get addicted to the drugs, whose withdrawal increases their aggression further.

 

It does not help that guns can be easily found in American households. In fact, an analysis of 145 school shootings committed since 1999 revealed that 80 percent of the guns were taken from the shooter’s home or that of their relatives. And if those weapons were not so easily accessible, over two-thirds of the shootings would never have happened.

 

The bottom line is, when you combine mental illness, drug abuse, video games, and weapons, the likelihood of a school shooting is greatly increased. To prevent this from happening, it is important that you get to know your child better. Look out for signs of stress, anxiety, and depression. Next, take them to a recovery center that takes a holistic approach to mental health treatment rather than just prescribing drugs to the child. Doing this might just prevent yet another shooting.

Your Kid’s Brain on Video Games

 

Over the last ten years, video games have steadily etched their way into one of the most preferred form of entertainment throughout the world as a result of the steady decrease in TV viewing habits. This is because video games are no longer limited to arcades or homes. Portable systems and mobile devices have made gaming a possibility no matter where you are. Nonetheless, consoles and computers remain widely popular gaming systems.

 

This ubiquitous nature of video games is the main cause of video gaming addiction in teens and children as they do not know when they should stop playing. Not surprisingly, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about this screen addiction. It is a major cause of worry when you notice that video games are the top priority in your child’s life. The child may start neglecting their hobbies, friends, sports, and schoolwork. Moreover, they may lash out at anyone who tries to limit their gaming.

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics has it that, on average, kids today spend about seven hours each day on some type of electronic device. Additionally, about 97% of kids aged between 12 and 17 play video games regularly.

 

Understandably, as a parent, you may start wondering whether your child has an actual addiction to video games. And if so, is their brain in danger? This article will take a closer look at video game addiction and how it can affect your child’s brain and life?

What is Video Game Addiction?

 

Gaming addiction refers to the compulsive and uncontrolled use of digital games, in a manner that results in problems in other areas of the gamer’s life. It is, therefore, considered a form of tech addiction or screen addiction. Video gaming addiction is an issue of increasing concern among parents as digital games become more popular and are increasingly being targeted at children. These include console games, computer games, cell phone games, and arcade games. Today, they are even embedded in social networking sites.

 

How Do Video Games Affect the Brain?

 

Most games are designed to trigger the sensory responses that humans use when they are exposed to danger. Whenever the brain feels threatened or senses danger, it kicks in our primitive survival mechanisms that work to protect us from harm. This is an instantaneous response that has been hardwired into our genes to ensure our survival. Nonetheless, a threat does not have to be real for this response to be triggered. It only takes the brain to perceive danger for the body to react.

 

Upon triggering this instinct, the nervous system and hormones work to jolt our state of arousal to enable faster reactions. As such, the body goes into a state of hyperarousal – commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight response. The issue, however, is that the feelings associated with this state are typically difficult to shake off even after the threat (real or perceived) is long gone.

 

The hyperarousal state is also referred to as ‘running from the tiger,’ since our ancestors literally had to protect themselves from predators by either fighting or running. Even though most humans today do not live in fear of predation, we still need this rapid stress response when we are in emergency situations or even the mild day-to-day stress reactions that help us to get things done. However, repeatedly going through this response when survival is not at stake does more harm than good in the long run.

 

As mentioned earlier, after a fight or flight stress response, the brain usually has a hard time regulating itself to a calm state. As such, when this response occurs regularly or too intensely, it can lead to a state of chronic stress. Stress is usually as a result of the mismatch between the survival response reactions and energy expenditure, as is typical with video games. When your body goes into that response, it builds up energy to help you through that moment. As such, this energy needs to be physically discharged so that the nervous system can re-regulate. When that energy is not discharged, the nervous system does not re-regulate effectively thus leading to chronic stress.

 

Once the body goes into a state of chronic stress, blood flow is directed away from the frontal lobe (the higher thinking part of the brain) and towards the deeper, primitive areas which are designed to help you survive adverse situations. The result is a functioning impairment.

 

Chronic stress sets in faster in children than in adults. This is because their nervous systems are still developing thus making those sequence of events to occur a lot faster in them. And when a child becomes chronically stressed, they soon begin to struggle.

 

And because the primary effect of chronic stress is felt on the frontal lobe, the child becomes mentally depleted. This leads to issues such as having trouble paying attention, suppressed impulses,an inability to manage emotions, difficulty following directions, frustration, and a hard time executing tasks. Moreover, these effects are compounded by the amount of screen-time that is spent playing these games. The body clock of a heavy gamer is usually distorted thus hindering deep sleep. Missing quality sleep regularly will result in mood, cognitive, and behavior issues.

How Gaming Addiction Compares to Other Addictions

 

An addiction to video games is similar to other addictions in terms of the amount of time and effort channeled into the activity, the emotional attachment involved, and the patterns of social difficulties displayed by the gamers.

 

As is the case with other addictions, video game addicts are preoccupied with gaming, thus disrupting their relationships, hobbies, and school. The younger a child begins to play video games, the more the likelihood that they will develop a dependence on video games.

 

Other Harmful Effects Associated With Video Games

 

In addition to addiction, the following are other harmful effects that have been linked to heavy video game use:

 

 An increased vulnerability to light-induced seizures, enhanced metabolic rate, and musculoskeletal disorders of the upper extremities.

 Reduced cooperative behavior during group settings or social interactions.

 An increase in aggressive thoughts and behaviors especially in children under the age of ten.

Research done on video game addicts reveals that, in general, they exhibit poorer mental health characterized by a decrease in cognitive abilities such as poor impulse control and ADHD symptoms. Moreover, individuals who are addicted to video games also tend to experience emotional difficulties, as well as being highly susceptible to anxiety and depression. They also report as feeling socially isolated, in addition to being more likely to have issues with internet pornography.

 

Parents need to learn the science behind how the time spent playing video games can overstimulate the nervous system, and how those effects manifest themselves, especially in their own child. By learning this information, parents will be better equipped to make strategic decisions regarding the role of video games in their children’s lives. It puts them in the driver’s seat rather than constantly being swayed by misleading headlines and cultural headlines.

Unfortunately, gaming addiction is a relatively new psychological problem, and as such, it can be difficult for parents to find experts who specialize in video game addiction. Nonetheless, help is available for parents looking to help their kids to overcome their tech addiction. Omega Recovery is a contemporary addiction treatment center run by experts with a breadth of knowledge across all areas of addiction. Are you looking to curb your child’s gaming addiction? Contact us today, and we will be glad to help.

Navigating Safely into the New Year while in Recovery

While recovering from any addiction, it’s important to avoid anything that can trigger a relapse. This is especially difficult during the winter holiday season because it tends to be longer than the others. Also, there are more celebrations, family and friends reunions scheduled for this time of the year than at any other time of the year.

 

To stay sober, you should start your transition on to the New Year with a resolve to stay sober. As hard as it might be, especially for a person who has just gone through intensive treatment for an addiction, it is crucial that you discipline yourself and be aware of negative habits that might crop up as you try to avoid the primary addiction. Here are strategies for staying sober during the holiday season.

 

Have a Plan

 

It’s the festive season and just because you are in recovery does not mean that you cannot have some fun as most of the world is. The only important thing is to have a plan. Only attend important meetups or celebrations and have with you someone close to watch and offer the support system you need. Some alcohol addiction patients may get an urge or temptation to taste alcohol just by seeing or smelling it at the party. If you think you can have these tendencies avoid such parties. Most family gatherings are relaxed and have less alcohol served. These can be ideal for a start. However, when going to such parties, prepare your mind for any eventuality. You might come face to face with alcohol, smell it and even watch people as they enjoy the drink. You can carry with you an alcohol-free drink that soothes you and helps keep your mind off alcohol.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Stress can trigger a relapse. Some situations are unavoidable but being prepared can make a lot of difference. Apart from the celebrations, sibling rivalry, fights with friends and other misunderstandings are a normal part of the festive season. You cannot avoid people because this can lead to other problems like screen addiction or tech addiction as happens to people who stay indoors for too long. To avoid stress, always be in the company of people who understand, support and are ready to help you through the setbacks. If you reach out to stress-relieving pills every time you experience anxiety or stress, you are at  risk of dependency or drug addiction.

 

Avoid Old Friends

 

As much as you can, avoid friends you used to party with or who drink or abuse drugs. The more you associate yourself with them, the easier it will be for you to slip back to your old ways. Sober living requires you to drop as many of your old friends as possible and get new ones, probably those who are walking your journey. When you have like-minded people, the journey becomes easier, and there are fewer temptations along the way. If you can’t avoid drinking friends, let them know of your intentions to stay sober, the effort you have been putting to fight alcohol addiction and ask for their help. Most probably they already know you were drinking way too much or were battling other addictions such as tech addiction or screen addiction. Ask them to avoid bringing alcohol along when they visit you.

 

Eat

Hunger is one of the triggers for most addictions including alcohol,video gaming addiction, and drug addiction. Having a meal or snack every three hours ensures that your blood sugar levels are optimal, your thinking is not affected and you have the energy to make the right decisions. Before joining a party, make sure you have eaten well, you can even carry a snack along. Other triggers include anger, loneliness, and fatigue. If you find yourself idle, your mind can go back to the things it was accustomed to.

 

To avoid tech or video gaming addiction, keep yourself busy with meaningful things. Being in control of your mental and physical health is important for your wellbeing. When you overwork, your energy levels go down which can trigger a relapse. Holiday festivals demand that you sleep late, party a lot and work hard to entertain guests. Having a plan ensures you get enough sleep and take breaks to avoid burning out.

 

Learn How to Say No

 

Most often, recovering patients shy away from telling their extended families or friends about their healing process. This puts them into awkward situations in parties or family gatherings where alcohol is being served. A well-meaning aunt or friend can hand you a glass or a whole bottle of wine, how do you politely say no? You need to have rehearsed this before. This gives you the preparedness to say no and settle for it. You don’t have to say no to the offer outrightly but can use a clever way to get out of the situation. Not involving everyone in this journey can be an advantage because you don’t have to endure the judgment that comes with such a revelation but you need to have a plan that gets you out of any tricky situation. To be on the safe side, always have an accountability partner every time you attend parties.

 

Evaluate Your Progress

It’s not an easy journey. Sometimes you will fall, other times you will have relapses, and in some instances, you will feel desperate and ready to give up. The urge to drink at times will be so strong that sober living will seem like an impossibility. Do not be too hard on yourself. If you slip once or twice, dust yourself and keep pushing forward. With time, things will get better. To be on the safe side, book yourself into more stay sober treats and make sure you attend all your therapy and counseling sessions. If possible, stick close to the support groups, make friends within the circle and find entertaining but safe ways to spend the holidays within the circle. This is especially important if you have just come out of an intensive treatment plan.

 

What you should always remember during the New Year season is that there are busy and not too busy triggers. Busy triggers include friends and family parties and old friends visiting you. Not busy triggers include loneliness, shame, guilt, and loss.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s essential to identify each emotion and take the necessary steps to deal with it. One of the things you may experience when around the extended family is low self-esteem. Addiction comes with a loss of earnings, poor health, marital and family problems that cannot be hidden. People may judge you, others may not be willing to forgive or accept you back or even help you on the journey to recovery, but you need to be strong and always stay close to positive people who embrace and love you just the way you are. If all fails, opt for sober living houses. This will significantly help you transition into the new year sober and focused on your long-term goal of kicking out the addiction.