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Addicted Gamers, Losing Their Way

Support Groups, Therapies Provide a Healthier Restart

By Chris Richards
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, October 5, 2004; Page C10

Jaysen Perkins used to spend up to six hours a day running missions with the U.S. Navy Seals.

Until it started hurting his social life.

Jaysen Perkins says he's back to playing basketball and engaging in other activities since his mother got him into therapy for a gaming addiction. (Wanda Benvenutti For The Washington Post)

_____Related Story_____
SIGNS OF TROUBLE (The Washington Post, Oct 5, 2004)

And his grades.

The 16-year-old has spent the last year coping with a video game addiction, in this case to the military role-playing game Socom II.

"I probably noticed a problem about a month into playing Socom," Perkins says. "There's something about it -- I kept wanting to go back."

Jaysen's mother, Rebecca, also noticed the change in her son.

"Jaysen would get up to play in the middle of the night," she says. "I guess the behavior was addictive -- he was trying to play it any way he could."

So the Perkinses turned to Jaysen's therapist, Kim McDaniel, for help.

McDaniel, a licensed mental health counselor, treats Jaysen along with about eight others each week for problems related to gaming addiction at her private practice in Kirkland, Wash.

Her most common patients are 6-year-olds who've had trouble adjusting to other children in school and 12-year-olds who are struggling with the transition to middle school. She also helps adolescents like Jaysen. When parents bring these distressed children to McDaniel, she frequently discovers a connection to gaming.

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