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3362 Big Pine Trail, Suite A, Champaign, Illinois 61822

Addiction is a complex, destructive condition that shouldn't be taken lightly.  For years, addiction was thought of as an uncontrollable habit of alcohol or drug use. More recently, it's been expanded to include behavioral issues-like gambling, shopping, exercise, and eating. Fortunately, treatment is available, and receiving care early on is key to a successful recovery. 

Although each person experiences addiction differently, warning signs are easier to recognize if you know what to look for. 8 common signs of addiction include:

  • Cravings. People suffering from addiction typically experience intense cravings or urges for the drug as their addiction progresses. They may feel out of control regarding how much they use or spend an excessive amount of time and energy finding their drug of choice. 

  • Tolerance. As the body adapts to the drug and larger and larger doses are necessary to achieve the desired effects, changes in eating habits, sleep, appearance, finances, and personality become noticeable

  • Withdrawal symptoms. When someone abruptly stops or reduces their drug usage, they almost immediately experience physical or mental symptoms of withdrawal. Symptoms may fluctuate depending on the drug of choice, but generally, addicts become irritable, restless, and highly defensive during these periods. 

  • Unable to handle everyday responsibilities. Calling off work or missing school due to sleeping in or abruptly feeling unwell are classic signs of addiction. Forgetting to pay bills or neglecting personal hygiene can indicate addiction if multiple examples are present. 

  • Developing unhealthy friendships. Changes in relationships occur alongside withdrawal from a person’s usual activities. A person may befriend others who share similar habits or have individuals coming in and out of their lives. 

  • Loss of interest. Someone may neglect or lose interest in the activities they once enjoyed. They'll also often lose touch with those they would spend time doing said activities with and replace them with a substance or others that engage in similar addictive behaviors.

  • Isolation. As a result of a loss of interest, a person may withdraw and isolate themselves, keeping their drug use a secret from loved ones. They may stop participating in activities they used to enjoy, which is frequently one of the signs noticed by others before themselves. This could be in fear of judgment or shame.

  • Continuance of drug use despite negative consequences. Frequently, this is the point where family and friends see a problem developing, and the person suffering from addiction grows defensive or resentful when confronted. Consequences can cause strain in relationships or even loss of friendships, separation or divorce, health issues, loss of a job, amongst others. Regardless, the person continues to use.

Identifying the signs of addiction is the first step towards recovery. If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling, one of the best responses is to talk to a qualified counselor about how to get help. With appropriate treatment, people with addictions can go on to live happy, healthy lives. 

Playing video games has become a popular hobby, and it’s even become a competitive sport around the world. With over 100 million Americans spending hours getting lost in virtual worlds, many concerns and questions continue to rise. 

So how many hours of gaming is too much?

Although there isn't a definitive answer, the amount of time spent gaming isn't as relevant as how much it interferes with daily activities and responsibilities. The issue may be a fine line between “when” rather than “how much.

When it becomes too much-gaming addiction

Similar to other behavioral addictions, video game addiction is controversial. 

Although it isn’t included in the DSM-5, Internet Gaming Disorder is listed as a condition for further study. The criteria used to diagnose IGD include experiencing at least 5 of the following 9 criteria over 12 months:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when gaming isn't available
  • Gaming preoccupation
  • Tolerance or an increased amount of time needed to feel satisfied
  • Irritability when not playing games
  • Loss of interest in other activities such as school or work
  • Downplaying use or lying about the amount of time spent playing games
  • Loss of sleep
  • Gaming as a way of relieving  anxiety or negative moods
  • Jeopardized or loss of a relationship, job, or other opportunities due to gaming

Research has shown that between 0.3% and 1.0% of Americans might have an internet gaming disorder. Although more studies are needed to establish validity, gaming has been associated with sleep deprivation, depression, anxiety, and circadian rhythm disorders. 

The amount of exposure to extreme violence often found in video games has also been a cause of concern. It desensitizes teens and young adults to it and can result in emotional problems or even acting upon similar acts of violence. Recognizing video game addiction as an official diagnosis would allow support services to be integrated into recovery programs and provide proper staff training. 

Gaming in moderation

While excessive use of video games can become problematic, it's essential to recognize some of the advantages, such as:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved hand-eye coordination
  • Potential to develop positive social skills
  • Problem-solving or critical thinking abilities

On the other hand, most of the adverse effects of gaming can be improved, if not avoided. Limiting the number of screentime and engaging in healthier alternatives like exercise or spending time with friends is crucial to achieving a healthy balance. 

Education is an essential key to injury prevention. Although it's not commonly addressed, gamers would benefit from knowing how to protect physical aspects like their hands, elbows, eyes, emotional states, and sleep habits. Simple solutions can include implementing breaks, stretching, choosing healthier snacks, or addressing any signs of physical pain can address injuries before developing into something more significant.

A healthy balance 

Overall, video games can be fun and social when integrated into a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of sleep, exercise, and good nutrition, rather than letting the game become your life. If you or someone you know are struggling, please seek help from a trained professional for help, guidance, and support.

If you're one of the 30% of adults living with insomnia, you're not alone. Although there are medications available as a treatment option, sleep experts say that a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy is a safer, more practical alternative.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a short, structured, and evidence-based approach to combating insomnia's frustrating symptoms.

How does CBT-I work?

CBT-I works to help those with poor sleep establish a healthy sleep pattern, by exploring the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, with insomnia symptoms. A person's thoughts and feelings about sleep are examined and tested for accuracy, while actions are reviewed to determine whether they promote sleep. 

Depending on each person's unique needs, the length of treatment varies. Typically, it takes about 6-8 to notice any significant changes but may be as short as two sessions.

CBT-I techniques

With a combination of traditional psychotherapy techniques and sleep science, CBT-I methods include the following:

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring begins to break the unhelpful cycle by identifying and challenging the thoughts that contribute to insomnia, particularly those resulting in feelings of guilt or anxiety. These thoughts often grow into a frustrating, ongoing cycle that feels difficult to break. Once these thoughts are identified, they're challenged and altered with a trained provider's help, and you may be encouraged to practice these skills between sessions.

Stimulus control

A person struggling with insomnia tends to spend more time in bed feeling stressed and may ultimately dread being in their bedroom. Stimulus control works to improve sleep hygiene by limiting the amount of time spent in bed- so someone may be asked to get out of bed after 20 minutes or so and find an activity to do. The goal is to find something you can put down once you feel sleepy so you can go back to bed. 

Sleep restriction and compression

The longer you're awake, the more your need for sleep increases. This is also known as your "sleep drive," It works to establish a consistent sleep schedule by limiting the amount of time you spend in bed. It's typically not recommended for those with medical conditions that can worsen by losing sleep, such as bipolar disorder or seizures.

Relaxation training

To enhance the effectiveness of treatment, CBT-I therapists may also introduce a variety of relaxation techniques. These techniques aim to reduce racing or worrisome thoughts that someone has while lying in bed, which is the most effective when implemented into a person's established routine.

A few commonly taught techniques include:

  • Breathing exercises or meditation
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
  • Establishing a wind-down period before bed

Psychoeducation

A core component of CBT-I is that clients learn the importance of sleep and maintain good sleep hygiene, which includes increasing the behaviors and practices that encourage sleep while working to eliminate those that don't. 

Other topics that may be covered include diet, exercise, and the environment have on quality sleep.

How effective is CBT-I?

CBT-I is an "evidence-based therapy," meaning that it's been shown to be useful in various clinical studies. Several decades of research have accumulated to show how CBT can teach individuals how to fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and feel rested throughout the day. 

While this treatment has been incredibly effective in treating insomnia, the results aren't always immediate. It takes time to acquire and practice the skills learned in therapy. 

Takeaway

Insomnia is a common condition that can be treated effectively with CBT-I. Working with a trained professional can help prepare the mind and body for sleep, ultimately allowing you to improve the quality and quantity of sleep. 

No parent wants to think about their child being bullied. If you’ve recently discovered that your child is a victim or suspect they might be, you may feel powerless or unsure how to go about it. By learning a few strategies and understanding what it can look like, you can help your child handle bullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying can be defined by intentional physical, verbal, or psychological torment. It can range anywhere from hitting, shoving, threatening to extort money and personal belongings. With the addition of social media usage in kids, bullies can hurt other kids online. 

Unless your child has told you that they're being bullied, it can be tough to know whether this is the case. Typical bullying symptoms include physical complaints such as tummy aches, worries and fears, and a child not wanting to go to school. Kids typically defend themselves by withdrawing or avoiding the things that cause stress.

Ask questions to get them talking about it. Try to understand which friends are supportive and get along with your child and which ones aren't. Establishing good communication should start well before bullying problems but can always be improved.

What can you do as a parent?

Once you've determined that your child is a victim of bullying, consider utilizing these 4 strategies:

  • Role-play "what If" scenarios. This is a great way to build confidence and help your child feel empowered. You can role-play the bully while your child practices potential responses until they feel confident enough to handle troublesome situations. Teach them how to speak in a confident, firm tone.
  • Maintain open communication—Check-in with them from time to time about how things are going at school. Don't be intrusive, but instead use a calm, nurturing tone, so they're not afraid to tell you if something's wrong. Emphasize that their wellbeing and safety is essential and that they can reach out to you or another adult if there are any issues.
  • Restore their confidence. Being bullied can feel embarrassing, demeaning, and scary. If serious enough, it can affect your child’s mental health. Tell your child the unique qualities you admire about them and continue to talk to them about how they feel. If possible, create opportunities for playdates and social interactions with other friends you trust to be kind to your child to rebuild their social confidence. This process can take time, and your child will need your support!
  • Be supportive. Please remind your child that it's not their fault and they're not alone. Teach them how to identify their feelings to communicate about what's going on, which may require you to talk about your feelings. Your child being picked on or teased shouldn't be accepted. Helping your child deal with a bully will build confidence and prevent a difficult situation from escalating.

While you may find some of these tips helpful, there isn't a clear cut solution to bullying. Working with a licensed and compassionate therapist can also help improve self-esteem, provide resources, and help inform you and your child about what you can do in dealing with your unique situation.

About Insight Therapy

Insight Therapy is a professional mental health private practice located in Champaign - Urbana. Insight Therapy offers individual therapy, couples counseling, family counseling, and professional mediation services to clients of all ages and issues.

Contact Information

Insight Therapy, LLC
3362 Big Pine Trail
Suite A
Champaign, Illinois 61822

Phone: (217) 383-0151
Fax: (217) 633-4555

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Practice Areas

Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Addiction, Couples Counseling, Eating Disorders, Sexual Abuse Survivor, School Anxiety, Women's Issues, Relationship Issues, BiPolar Disorder, Personality Disorders, Family Issues, Couples Counseling, Mediation, and more!