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Ask TherapistMarryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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How do you help your 20 yr old son get help for online

Resolved Question:

How do you help your 20 yr old son get help for online gaming issues? WOW
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your son first needs to see his doctor about his medication. He may be on too much or need a change in medicine. Was he like this before? If not, then a medication check should help.

Part of his depression and lack of motivation may be the fact that he does not have any responsibilities. Your son should have more responsibilities at his age than he does right now. If he is living with you, he should be contributing to the household budget. If he cannot afford it, he needs to at least contribute to the household chores. Hold him to this. If he won't contribute, then talk about having him move out. That way, if he choses to sleep all day, it's on him. And if he wants to play games most of the day, he'll be the one responsible for the consequences. It is the only way he will begin to understand responsibility and become motivated to be in charge of his own life.

Helping your son with his gaming addiction is going to require his cooperation. If you feel he is ready to address this problem, he can see a counselor. He can find one through his doctor or if he attends church, his pastor can help. He can also search on line at

First, to address his addiction, he must be willing to admit to it. Owning up to having a problem is important. As long as he is denying it, he will not willing to get help. Once he is able to realize he has a problem, he can go online for help. Here is the link for online gamers anonymous- They can provide guidance and help him understand how to address his addiction. He also needs support. Family, friends and others who have experienced gaming addiction, or other addictions can help him. He needs someone to turn to if he feels the need to play again. This is where a sponsor or other support person can help.

Here are some books that will help as well:

Cyber Junkie: Escape the Gaming and Internet Trap by Kevin J. Roberts

Unplugged: My Journey into the Dark World of Video Game Addiction by Ryan G. Van Cleave and Mark Griffiths

When Gaming becomes an Obsession: Help for Parents and their Children to Treat Online Gaming Addiction by ***** *****

These are available on (some are Kindle editions) or check with your local library.

I hope this has helped you,

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** we are still waiting for him to realize it is a problem. He does continue to go to doctors for his medication but has stopped going to his counselor. He does admit to lying to make people happy. He says its just easier that way.

Any ideas for convincing him that he needs to seek help. He has been able to convince his counselor that he doesn't need other people. He is just happy hiding in our basement in the dark playing his game with his "online" friends.

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 6 years ago.

It is difficult to help someone who does not want help. It is like getting a child to try a new food. You can try all you want, but until they give in and realize it might be a good choice, you will have to keep trying.

What you can do in the meantime is educate yourself about his addiction. Learn what you can from the link I gave you and also read some of the books. Gamers Anonymous has a family/friend section that may help give you additional ideas to address his denial.

Helping him realize the consequences of his behavior will also help him break through the denial. If he is manipulating others like you mentioned, then he has figured out a way to keep himself gaming without consequences. He lives with you, he doesn't have to work on his issues with a counselor, and he doesn't have to worry about being responsible. All of those things are going to keep him in denial. There is no reason for him to change. You will need to create that reason or reasons by not making his life so easy. Try some of the suggestions in my last answer to get him to face the consequences of his behavior. That is often how denial is broken through, when people learn that they are hurting themselves and others with what they are doing. And he will never learn that by staying in the basement with his addiction.


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