I saw an article recently on a secular website about a hospital in Pennsylvania that began a new inhouse treatment program for what has apparently been identified as a new brand of addiction: a gaming disorder! Just as we looked recently at the label of sexual addiction, let’s take a brief look at this new disorder.
The article contends that internet addiction is more pervasive than alcoholism because “”the Internet is free, legal and fat free.” The medical team at the hospital contends that a person goes into “digital detox” when they are cut off from an internet connection or computer use for 72 hours! The researchers also note that people severely affected with this disorder also have another undiagnosed “psychiatric disorder or personality problem”.
We know people who seem to be “addicted” to their internet device but would not typically suggest that they need in-house treatment programs. The terms “disorder” and “syndrome” are bandied about frequently in the medical community and the common theme is that the etiology (or cause) is unknown.If you are a follower of our website or blogs, you will already know that we contend that the vast majority of these diagnoses typically reflect spiritual and not medical issues. The medical community addresses these as best they can through psychotropic medications that are band-aids at best and typically ineffective for curing the issues.
As Christian counselors, we are of the view that life cannot be lived victoriously and to the full apart from Christ dwelling within us. Without the Holy Spirit, people will seek worldly pleasures to full the void and they are all at best unfulfilling and ultimately destructive at the worst. Whether the substitute is alcohol, drugs, pornography or the internet, the paths typically lead to the same place: an unfulfilled and incomplete life. In many cases, the end is also unexpected and tragic.Our hearts go out to those who are dealing with these types of issues.
Their pain and torment is no doubt real and we know from experience that their difficulty in stopping the destructive behaviors is no less easy than others battling similar addictions. The demonic realm is here to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) and we have no doubt that they can torment in the areas of gaming and internet just as they can with drugs and alcohol. There is a spirit of addiction and it can manifest in many ways.
Let us not focus on the veracity of the claim (is there really a “gaming addiction”?) but rather working to get to the root cause for the condition in the first place. The article rightly notes that the person has other personality “issues” and that is where the love and power of Christ can work to bring a transformation.
If someone you know is battling in these areas, please give us a call to schedule an in-office or online counseling session. We would love to talk to you!