Addiction to Video Games

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Ed consulted with me because he was concerned about his 16 year-old son.

“He doesn’t have any friends. I’d like to spend more time with him but there doesn’t seem to be anything he likes to do.”

“How does he spend his time?” I asked.

“Playing video games.”

Betsy consulted with me because she was concerned about her husband’s lack of motivation.

“Every night he plays video games for hours and then is too tired the next day to do a good job at work. I’m afraid he is going to lose his job, but he gets angry at me if I say anything to him about it.”

Carolyn consulted with me because of her concern over her sons.

“After graduating high school, Brandon did a semester of college and then dropped out. Matthew graduated last year and has been doing some odd jobs, but neither of them seem motivated to do much of anything.”

“How do they spend their time?”

“They sleep in and then play video games.”

A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 45 percent of the population of people between the ages of 19 and 90 are video game players, with an average age of 35.

According to the study, “Video games might be regarded as an obsession for youngsters but in fact the average player is aged 35, often overweight, introverted and may be depressed.” 56% of the video game players were men. The research suggested that “video gaming for adults may be a form of ‘digital self-medication.'”

Is this really any different than using alcohol, drugs, food, TV, or any other activity to avoid feelings and taking responsibility for one’s feelings? Obviously, playing video games has become a huge addictive activity in our society.

While the average age of video game players is 35, it is unlikely that they started playing at age 35. Probably, like Ed and Carolyn’s children, they started in adolescence and never stopped.

Playing video games is an easy way of avoiding fears, especially fears of rejection, engulfment, and failure. One researcher stated that “…adult video game players may ‘sacrifice real-world social activities to play video games.'”

As I explored with both Ed and Carolyn, it became apparent that both of them were role modeling addictive behavior for their children. Ed would spend his downtime watching TV and drinking beer, while Carolyn used food to avoid her feelings. Although neither Ed or Carolyn played video games, this is likely because video games were not around when they were younger so they got addicted to other things. But neither Ed nor Carolyn were showing their children by their own behavior how to take responsibility for their own feelings.

I worked with both Ed and Carolyn on learning to take loving care of themselves and on how to interact with their children in ways that encouraged them to begin to take loving action for themselves. Gradually the parents and the children began to take steps toward letting go of their various addictions.

Fortunately, Betsy’s husband was willing to join her in phone sessions with me. In dealing with his fears of rejection and failure that were behind his addiction to video games, he became willing to limit his video game playing to 1 hour each evening.

All addictions are ways of avoiding the feelings that you believe you can’t manage. It is unrealistic to think that you will just stop your addictions if you haven’t learned to take responsibility for creating many of your painful feelings with your own self-abandonment, and you haven’t learned to lovingly nurture the challenging feelings of loneliness, heartache, and heartbreak that are a part of life.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® healing process. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover addiction-free joy? Learn Inner Bonding now! Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding Course, and visit our website at for more articles and help. Phone Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding healing process. Dr. Margaret Paul is the author/co-author of numerous best-selling books, including: Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You? Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By You?…The Workbook Healing Your Aloneness The Healing Your Aloneness Workbook Inner Bonding Do I Have To Give Up Me to Be Loved By My Kids? Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God? Margaret holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is a relationship expert, public speaker, seminar leader, consultant, facilitator, and artist. She has appeared on many radio and TV shows, including the Oprah show. She has successfully worked with thousands of individuals, couples and business relationships and taught classes and seminars for over 42 years. Dr. Paul’s books have been distributed around the world and have been translated into many languages. After practicing traditional psychotherapy for 17 years, Margaret was discouraged by the results – both for her clients and herself. She had spent years trying to heal from her own dysfunctional and abusive background, but found herself still suffering with anxiety and relationship problems. She started to seek a process that works fast, deep, creates permanent change, loving relationships, inner peace, and joy. In 1984, she met and became friends with Dr. Erika Chopich, who had half the Inner Bonding® process, and Margaret had the other half! They have been evolving this incredibly powerful healing process for the last 26 years. Margaret works with individuals and couples throughout the world – on the phone, in workshops and 5-Day Intensives, and with members of Inner Bonding Village at She is able to access spiritual Guidance during her sessions, which enables her to work with people wherever they are in the world. Dr. Margaret has just completed a 12 year project call SelfQuest®, which is a transformational self-healing/conflict resolution software program. SelfQuest® is being donated to prisons and schools and sold to individuals, families, and businesses. You can read about SelfQuest® and see a short video of it at In her spare time, Margaret loves to paint, make pottery, take photos, watch birds, read, ride and play with her horses, and spend time with her children and grandchildren.

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