Where To Get Help

Where To Get Help

If you're at the stage of looking for help or support around reducing or changing your gaming habits, there are quite a few options open to you. You might be able to get help from family or friends, you can get help through online support groups and others who have overcome gaming addiction, or you might seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor.

Getting Help From Family or Friends

While you might not be comfortable approaching family and friends for help, for some people it can be a good place to start. Those close to you are often the most likely to want to help, and may be able to help in ways that professionals or strangers cannot - getting involved with you in other hobbies or activities outside of gaming. Asking for help can feel pretty daunting, but it can also be as straightforward as saying "Hey, I'm feeling like I'm spending too much time gaming and am having a hard time cutting down. I was wondering if you had any ideas or wanted to hang out more often and do some other stuff?" Of course, this will come down to the family and friends that you have - unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to have family and friends who will be supportive, in which case it might be better connecting in with some of the online support groups.

It's also important to be aware that sometimes family and friends might not be the right people to ask for help. Particularly if your gaming has had a negative impact on others and there's a lot of tension around the topic, or it's become difficult to talk about it, it may be better to start off talking with others online or with a professional before getting friends and family involved - only you can know for sure. If you do decide to ask family and friends for help, then you can also expect that while they may be supportive and helpful at first they might - quite reasonably - get frustrated if their attempts to help don't seem to lead anywhere. If this happens, this can be a good point to involve a professional therapist or counsellor, before your relationships deteriorate too far!

Getting Help Online

There are a number of places now that offer online support in one form or another for gaming addiction, or people who just want to reduce their gaming.

Olganon is one of the oldest support sites for gaming addiction on the internet. From their website: "On-Line Gamers Anonymous® was founded by Liz Woolley in May of 2002 after her son, Shawn, committed suicide as a direct result of being addicted to an on-line game. Liz was soon joined by Ron Jaffe (Diggo McDiggity), a recovering gamer. They supported each other as the fellowship grew." Olganon has very active forums including forums offering support for family members, parents and friends of addicted gamers, and has a great deal of useful information. They also provide a database of professionals who work with gaming addiction, and offer online support meetings.

Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous (CGAA) is a newer group and is built purely on 12-step principles of recovery. They offer forums and online support groups all built around the 12-step model, so for anyone who is familiar with and has found groups like NA or AA helpful, you are likely to feel right at home here.

StopGaming on reddit is an open forum for people who are wanting to - as the name implies - stop their gaming. Like most of reddit, it's fairly disorganised but is fairly active and contains a lot of people discussing both the problems they've had with gaming and different strategies that they've found effective in reducing or quitting gaming. If 12-step approaches don't fit so well for you, this might be a good place to go.

Getting Help From Professionals

If none of the above options work well for you, then getting help from a professional therapist, counsellor or psychologist might be the next best option. Most countries provide databases of registered therapists/counsellors/psychologists depending on their local licensing laws. In New Zealand, you can find these professional registers below

Psychotherapists: PBANZ provides a list of all registered psychotherapists in New Zealand.

Psychologists: The psychologists board of NZ provides a list of all registered psychologists in New Zealanbd.

Counsellors: NZAC provides a list of all counsellors who are members of this professional body on their website.

Talkingworks: Talkingworks also provides a more detailed list of various mental health practitioners throughout New Zealand, and here you can find information about each therapist or counsellor's specialty. Although not many therapists or counsellors in New Zealand specialise in working with gaming addiction, most therapists with a background in behavioural addictions (or process addictions as they are sometimes called) should be able to work effectively with this problem, so this is a good question to ask anyone that you are considering seeing.

Black Dog Therapy: I also offer in-person and Skype therapy through my own practice. I am a registered psychotherapist and full member of the New Zealand Association of Psychotherapists.