Ask a Psychologist: Video Games and Relationships

Dr. Stacey Soeldner, a clinical psychologist and "life coach" with Riverhill Psychological Associates in Manitowoc, Wisc., loves to answer reader questions in her column "Ask a Psychologist." Today’s question has to do with a wife’s angst over her husband’s "obsession" with video games. The question:

Q. My husband and I have been having difficulties lately, and I believe it is due to the amount of time he spends playing video games. We are always arguing about this, and he just tells me that I am crazy. I do not understand anything about these games, so maybe I am wrong. I just think that this is an obsession for him. Am I the crazy one?

Her Answer? No, she is not crazy. The good doctor does point out that, while the "American Psychological Association has not identified playing video games as an addiction or obsession, it has been researching it."

She then give the reader a checklist of questions to determine the level of "addiction" or "obsession" her husband might have:

1 – Do you or a loved one consistently play video games to the point of exhaustion?

2 – Do you or a loved one have an inability to stop or cut down playing video games once you have started, despite wanting to?

3 – Do you or a loved one have negative consequences arise due to continuous play?

4 – Do you or a loved one deny that playing the video games are a problem despite feedback from a spouse, relative, friend or employer?

5 – Do you or a loved one continue playing the video game despite experiencing persistent or recurring, vocational, social or relationship problems that are directly caused by the playing of the video game? (For example, being tired at work, being late for work or not engaging in social activities.)

6 – Do you or a loved one have a need to play the video game more to get the same effect as when you began playing?

7 – Do you or a loved one suspend important social, recreational or occupational activities because they interfere with playing the video game? (For example, calling in sick for work or skipping your son’s soccer game.)

She goes on to tell the reader that if she was able to answer "yes" to any of these questions, then there is a problem. She adds that "this behavior can be due to other disorders, such as depression" and that "whatever the cause, it would be beneficial for this person to seek psychological treatment." 

Read the whole thing here.

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