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SUWS develops video game addiction therapy program

SUWS Youth & Adolescent Program, one of the nation's oldest and best-known wilderness therapy programs, has expanded its focus to include treatment of children and teens with video game addiction. "We noticed a dramatic increase over the years in parent concerns that video games were essentially controlling their children's lives. Even young children were beginning to show obsessive video gaming behaviors," explains Kathy Rex, Executive Director of the SUWS Programs. Video game addiction is not always easy to diagnose, but most parents can identify the typical behaviors that indicate obsessive game playing. Teens who are playing more than three hours a day, who shirk real-life social connections in favor of virtual relationships with fellow game players, and who become obsessive about missing "game time" could be considered addicted to video games. Addiction is generally described as a behavior where the addicted person cannot give up the behavior for any length of time, seeks out the activity to such a degree that it interferes with normal social behavior or family life, and becomes enraged if they are kept from the activity.

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