Everyone is talking about digital technology, video game addiction, and the powerful effects it has on teens. But what if we told you we have 18 years of first-hand experience detailing these so-called newfound side-effects?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has included gaming disorder as a diagnosis in its International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has not followed suit but did propose “Internet Gaming Disease” as a condition to be studied further in the 2013 edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Video Game Addiction Symptoms

But even before the WHO’s widely reported move, people had been talking about the effects of video games for years. Video game Symptoms include:

  • Playing time which interferes with other important life activities:
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • School
  • Work
  • Sleep
  • And more
  • Player is unable to stop playing or cut back despite the interference.
  • Generally, these symptoms would go on for a year or more.

The APA’s proposed list of Internet gaming disorder symptoms is reportedly more detailed, and adds standard signs of addiction, like:

  • Accumulating tolerance, requiring more play for the same effect
  • Obsession/preoccupation with gaming
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Lying about their usage

Where and How to Get Help for Video Game Addiction

Shepherd’s Hill Academy has been helping people deal with video game addiction symptoms for nearly two decades. In the past year, over 16% of our online forms from parents seeking residential care reference some form of technology in their message to us. And that’s just the parents who understand that technology is playing a role! (And before they ever actually speak with us!)

Shepherd’s Hill Academy has not only been a real-life case study and proving ground for teen mental health, but a haven of hope and healing to teens in crisis from around the world. Since 2001, Shepherd’s Hill Academy has offered teens an unplugged environment to aid in healing issues such as anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, ADHD, relationship issues, behavioral issues, trauma, and digital addiction.

Successful Treatment Founded on Experience and Knowledge

Trace Embry, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Shepherd’s Hill Academy, speaks extensively on the power of digital technology and what it is doing to our children and teens. Trace has been featured in the highly-acclaimed and award-winning documentary film Captivated for his expertise on the effects of digital technology on youth culture and family health.

He also contributed his knowledge and experience to a section of the book The Digital Invasion by Dr. Archibald Hart and Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd. In addition to his own radio program, License to Parent, Trace has been featured on numerous other radio and television programs across the country for his experience and expertise in the field of youth and family development.

Recognized for Knowledge and Expertise

Trace and Beth Embry have combined work, knowledge, research, education, writings, and experience in the field of therapeutic youth and family development and education in a residential setting.

That combination has grabbed the attention and endorsement of world-renowned thought leaders, professionals, and experts such as Dr. Archibald Hart, Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd, John Rosemond, Mark Bauerlein, Dr. David Baron, Dr. Quentin L. Van Meter, MD and more.

The Shepherd’s Hill Academy Difference

Unplugging in the Wilderness

Client after client in our program has experienced the transformation of the lives of teens as they engaged in our all-inclusive 12-month wilderness hybrid program. By combining empirical therapeutic methods, rigorous academics, a digital detox and the truths of Scripture, Shepherd’s Hill Academy has offered over 325 clients recovery, healing, and lasting hope.

Reducing Medication

At Shepherd’s Hill Academy, 69% of our students have been approved by a physician to be taken off medication or continue on a significantly reduced regimen. And that’s not because we’re anti-medication! In fact, we have helped 5% of our students determine a need for, and begin, an appropriate medication regimen during their time with us. But nearly 70% of our kids leave with less medicine in their daily schedule than they came with. That’s an undeniable figure.

Shepherd’s Hill Academy is a faith-based nonprofit Residential Therapeutic Boarding School for teens in crisis between the ages of 12-17. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the program offers an unplugged environment conducive to healing. Learn more at www.shepherdshillacademy.org or contact us today!