Get rid of a gaming addiction

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Get rid of a gaming addiction
Get rid of a gaming addiction

Playing video games can be a great way to relax and have fun. But if you're so fixated on gaming that it feels like it's taking over your life, then you may have a video game addiction. A gaming addiction is no joke - in 2018 the World Health Organization officially classified it as a mental health condition called "gaming disorder." Fortunately, there are things you can do to get your addiction under control. Try to set boundaries for yourself and engage in other activities. Any kind of addiction can be incredibly difficult to overcome, so don't be afraid to seek help. If you can't figure it out yourself, contact a doctor or therapist.


Method 1 of 4: Set limits on your access to games

End a Video Game Addiction Step 1

Step 1. Set yourself a strict time limit for daily play

Health experts recommend that teens and school-age children spend no more than two hours a day in front of a screen, and it's just as important for adults to limit their sedentary time. If you find yourself playing games too often, try setting specific boundaries for yourself about how long you play each day.

  • For example, you can limit yourself to playing no more than half an hour a day.
  • Help yourself keep track of your playing time by setting a timer on your phone or other device.
  • Don't give up and don't be mad at yourself if you occasionally make mistakes and end up playing longer than you intended - it's perfectly normal to have setbacks! Try to learn from what happened and think of a way to prevent it next time, such as having your parents remind you that it's time to stop playing.


Setting the right boundaries can help prevent you from developing an outright addiction. However, if you are seriously addicted to gaming, you may need to stop gaming altogether.

End a Video Game Addiction Step 2

Step 2. Keep gaming devices out of your bedroom

If you have a game console, computer, or other gaming device in your room, you may be tempted to play all night instead of getting the sleep you need. Make your room a screen-free zone so you don't get caught up in late-night gaming.

  • If you have games on your phone, turn it off at night or put it somewhere you can't easily reach it when it's bedtime.
  • Playing games right before going to bed can reduce the quality of your sleep. In addition to keeping your room screen-free, avoid playing games in the last few hours before going to bed.
  • When trying to break free from a video game addiction, it's not uncommon to have trouble sleeping. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, try not to worry. Do something calming and soothing to help you relax, such as meditating for a few minutes or taking a warm shower.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 3

Step 3. Try apps or extensions to block your access to games

If you play games on your phone or on your computer, you can install apps or browser extensions that limit your playing time. Some apps may restrict your access to specific games, while others may shut you off from your device completely for a period of time.

  • PC programs like Game Boss can set time limits for games or block your access to gaming websites.
  • If you play games in a web browser, try an extension like StayFocusd for Chrome or LeechBlock for Firefox.
  • For phone games, try apps like Offtime or BreakFree to set time limits, track your game usage, or block your access to game apps.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 4

Step 4. Ask friends and family to help you respect your gaming limits

Let your family and friends know that you're trying to cut back on the time you spend gaming. Ask them to check occasionally that you're not playing games when you should be doing other things.

  • For example, ask your friend to call or text you when you are likely to play your game.
  • Ask the people in your life to respect your decision by not tempting you to play video games. For example, you can ask your sibling not to game when you are around.
  • Try not to feel ashamed when you ask for help. Keep it simple - say something like, "Hey, I'm trying to stop gaming as much as possible. Can you remind me to stop if you see me playing for more than half an hour?'

Method 2 of 4: Creating a healthier routine

End a Video Game Addiction Step 5

Step 1. Distract yourself with other fun activities throughout the day

You're less likely to get stuck in gaming if you have other things to keep you busy. Take the opportunity to rediscover activities you used to enjoy, or try something exciting and new! Plan time you would normally spend gaming to do other things you enjoy, such as:

  • Read
  • Walking or doing active outdoor games
  • Spending time with your friends or family
  • Working on a hobby or creative project
End a Video Game Addiction Step 6

Step 2. Treat gaming as a reward for completing other tasks

If your gaming gets in the way of homework, chores, or other work you need to get done, make a firm commitment to yourself to put those important tasks first. Don't start gaming until you're done with the other things on your to-do list for the day.

For example, if you need to finish a homework assignment and load the dishwasher, finish those things before gaming

End a Video Game Addiction Step 7

Step 3. Do other activities to relax if you are playing games when you are stressed

Sometimes a gaming addiction can develop when you use gaming as an escape from things that cause you stress. Work on developing some alternative strategies for dealing with this so that you have something else to fall back on when you're feeling overwhelmed. For example, you can:

  • meditate
  • doing yoga
  • Train
  • Draw, write or make music to express your feelings
End a Video Game Addiction Step 8

Step 4. Schedule time for yourself each day

A serious gaming addiction can interfere with your ability to provide for your own basic needs. If you don't take good enough care of yourself, you can start to feel tired and unwell, which may tempt you to start using your game to feel better. As you work on overcoming your gaming addiction, set specific times each day for the following:

  • Make sure you eat at least three healthy meals every day
  • Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night if you're an adult, or 8-10 if you're a teenager
  • Do at least half an hour of physical activity
  • Take care of your hygiene (such as showering and brushing your teeth)
  • Do your daily chores and responsibilities


If you have trouble remembering to do these things, try setting reminders on your phone or ask a friend or family member to remind you.

Method 3 of 4: Enlist professional help

End a Video Game Addiction Step 9

Step 1. Ask your doctor for advice on coping with your addiction

If you're unable to cut down on gaming on your own, talk to your doctor. He/she can give you advice on how to stop or refer you to someone who can help you.

  • It can be difficult to talk to your doctor about something like this, but remember that it is their job to help you. Say something like, "I feel like I'm playing too many video games, but it's really hard for me to stop. Can you give me some advice?'
  • If you are a child or teenager, talk to your parents or another adult you trust, such as a school counselor. They can help you make an appointment to get the help you need.
  • Let your doctor know if you think your gaming addiction is causing physical problems, such as dry eyes, muscle or joint pain, or headaches.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 10

Step 2. Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to Overcome Addictive Behaviors

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be helpful in overcoming serious video game addictions. CBT focuses on helping you recognize and change harmful behaviors and thought patterns that can make your addiction worse. Ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist experienced in treating CBT addictions.

  • If you are in school or college, find out if your school offers psychological services for students.
  • If your gaming habits are negatively impacting your relationships, you could also benefit from family or marriage counseling.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 11

Step 3. Join a game addict support group if you're feeling isolated

Group therapy can be a great way to meet other people who are dealing with similar issues. Other members of the group can give you advice and support and help you feel less alone. Ask your doctor or counselor to recommend a support group.

  • In a group meeting, you and other group members can share your success stories, talk about things you struggle with, and encourage each other. You don't have to say anything or join the discussion if you don't feel like it.
  • You can also use online support groups and communities for game addicts, such as Online Gamers Anonymous, Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous, or Game Quitters.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 12

Step 4. Ask your doctor about any medication to reduce the need for gaming

Some studies show that bupropion (Wellbutrin), an antidepressant, may help stop video game addiction. If other methods don't work, ask your doctor or psychiatrist if such a remedy might be right for you.

  • Medications can sometimes interact harmfully with other medications. Before starting bupropion or other medications, provide your doctor with a complete list of all medications and/or supplements you are currently taking.
  • Ask your doctor about the possible risks and side effects of taking bupropion.
End a Video Game Addiction Step 13

Step 5. Consider drug addiction treatment

If your addiction is so bad it's affecting your health and you're not having success with other treatment options, consider a drug addiction program. Some addiction treatment centers offer you the opportunity to spend some time in a controlled environment away from gaming technology so that you have a chance to 'detoxify'. Search online for a gaming addiction treatment facility near you, or ask your doctor to recommend one.

  • If you are unable to stay in a treatment facility, look for outpatient rehabilitation programs. These programs can combine counseling with other forms of therapy to help treat your addiction.
  • It takes a lot of strength to get help for a serious addiction, so don't be ashamed to go to rehab.


If you live in the US, you can get help finding a treatment program by calling the American Addiction Centers at 1-866-204-2290.

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Step 6. Treat any conditions that may be contributing to your addiction

Video game addiction is often accompanied by other psychological problems, such as depression or anxiety. If you think you may have another mental illness that is causing or exacerbating your addiction, talk to your doctor or counselor. They can help you treat these conditions, making it easier to shake off your video game addiction.

  • Your doctor or therapist may recommend a combination of counseling and medications to treat these conditions.
  • If you're struggling with anxiety, depression, or any other mental health problem, you're not alone. About half of all adults will experience a mental illness at some point!

Method 4 of 4: Recognizing a gaming addiction

End a Video Game Addiction Step 15

Step 1. Pay attention to obsessive thoughts about the game

If you find yourself constantly thinking about your favorite game, you may be addicted. Find out if you obsess over the game all day long, or even at night when you're trying to sleep.

It's okay to look forward to playing a game you enjoy or thinking about it from time to time. However, there can be a problem if you find that you can't stop thinking about it even when you're trying to focus on other things

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Step 2. Pay attention when you find yourself becoming more frequent

If you are addicted, you may find that you have to play the game longer and longer to feel satisfied. Pay attention to how long you play each day, and notice if your playtime is getting longer.

You may find yourself losing track of time while playing and end up playing much longer than you intended

End a Video Game Addiction Step 17

Step 3. Watch for feelings of restlessness or irritability as you try to cut down

As with any addiction, you may feel withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or try to reduce the amount of time you spend gaming. Look out for signs such as:

  • Feelings of irritability, anxiety, anger or depression when you can't game
  • Changes in your appetite or sleep pattern if you don't play for a while
End a Video Game Addiction Step 18

Step 4. Check if the gaming is causing problems in other areas of your life

A gaming addiction can take you away from the other things you need or want to do, such as working, spending time with your family, or taking care of your health. Keep an eye out for issues with your overall quality of life that may be gaming-related, such as:

  • Underperforming at work or school
  • Spending less time with your friends or family, or arguing about your gaming habits
  • Forgetting to eat, sleep, or take care of your hygiene.
  • Losing interest in your other hobbies and pastimes
End a Video Game Addiction Step 19

Step 5. Notice if you've tried to quit or cut down in vain

If you keep trying to quit or limit your play time, but keep coming back to it, it could be a sign of addiction. Consider if you've tried to change your gaming habits before without success.


Don't be too hard on yourself if you've had a hard time breaking a gaming habit. Even if you don't have a serious addiction, habits can be difficult to change, and setbacks are a normal part of the process.

End a Video Game Addiction Step 20

Step 6. Ask yourself if you use gaming to escape your problems

If the game has become your main way of escaping the main sources of stress in your life, then you may be addicted or at risk of becoming addicted. Be wary of using the game to distract you from issues such as:

  • Guilt, anxiety, hopelessness, or depression
  • Conflicts at home, at school or at work
  • Overall dissatisfaction with your life situation


  • While anyone can become addicted to video games, you're more at risk if you're under 25 or have other mental health conditions.
  • In addition to disrupting your relationships, school, and work, video game addiction can also have a real impact on your physical health. Untreated gaming addiction can lead to problems such as repetitive stress injuries, obesity, or even seizures due to flashing lights and colors.

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