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Trauma can be defined as a single or series of life events which negatively change the way we see ourselves as a person, see the world that we live in, and see how we fit into that world. In some ways, trauma is a reality breaker as much as it is a reality changer. Trauma changes our perspective, our behaviors, and our beliefs, all of which radically shape our sense of reality. Often, the experience of trauma is so severe on the brain, the brain shuts down entirely. Attempting to cope with the painful reality of trauma- this blunt wound to the world we thought we knew- is nearly too much. We compartmentalize, we enter a state of denial, or in some cases, we find an entirely new reality to live in. As our fight or flight response in the sympathetic nervous system becomes altered we desperately seek places of safety in our lives. Attaching to what we feel is a safe place is a method of survival, offering us reprieve from the thriving feelings of threat happening in our brain and our body. Millions of people find their solace in online gaming worlds.

On Monday, June 18, WHO, the World Health Organization, released the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. This year, “gaming disorder” was added to the list. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, more often called the DSM has not yet recognized gaming disorder as a diagnosable disease. Gambling addiction, a close compulsive behavioral relative, is the only process addiction currently recognized by the DSM. However, in the most recent fifth edition, there was a call for more research into internet gaming addiction issues, which has become a prevalent problem.

Defining an addiction to something which is not a chemical substance can be challenging. People who develop process addictions certainly experience psychological dependence and can sometimes experience physical dependence as well. With gaming addiction, there is typically a change in behavior toward diet, nutrition, and exercise. Additionally, spending copious amounts of time staring into a digital screen can cause an addiction in the brain. Researchers have equated the effect of technology interactions in the brain to the way cocaine interacts in the brain. The blue light behind the screen of computers purposefully stimulates the brain. Likewise, the process of playing online games stimulates the production of dopamine, a brain chemical which communicates pleasure and plays a part in addiction.

Individuals become lost in online gaming worlds for hours upon hours at a time. When gaming becomes a questionably addiction issue, it has taken preference over everything else in life including jobs, responsibilities, and interpersonal relationships. Living in the online reality of gaming feels easier and better than living in the reality outside of a screen, even though gaming is causing damage in real life. If individuals can find the root of their need to escape, they can stop escaping to other worlds, as other people, living other lives. Living with the reality of trauma is possible with the right treatment.

The Guest House Ocala offers specialized residential treatment programs for trauma, behavioral addictions, and related mental health issues. Each guest’s treatment plan is custom designed with a concierge level of attentiveness and care. When you come to The Guest House, you’re welcomed with open arms. Everyone has a chance to heal. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800