Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Link between Schizophrenia and Video Gaming Addiction

Hello. I am new here and have no idea if I am posting in forum correctly. I am NOT computer savvy so please forgive me. I have been doing some research and have found that children, teens and adults that are addicted to video games are at HIGH risk for psychological problems if not addressed. Even schizophrenia. This is a “new area” in my opinion, but an important one. You see, I was ignorant about the harmful effects of video games and computer games (or even just internet addictions) on the brain. My son is 23 and I (his mother) have been noticing some odd behavior that I, Me, Myself is associating it with schizophrenia. It was MY FAULT that he became a gaming addict. I was so naive!!! We got him a Nintendo 64 when he was only 4 years old!! Then he “graduated” to the Sony play stations. It was a convenient baby sitter. I feel so horrible!!! He became so good at the gaming consoles that it was no longer fun for him anymore. The gaming consoles were TOO SLOW for his brain!!! So he “graduated” to computer online games which means he uses BOTH hands to play a game. It is much harder than just using a controller on a PlayStation or X-Box. His left hand does one thing while the right hand is doing something else. I ignorantly thought he was exercising his brain and that it was a good thing, little did I know it was going to be HELL. Fast forward to now. He lives on his own and has been for almost 2 years. Before he got his own place, when he was around 19, I was the one that finally uncovered “video gaming addiction” because I noticed how addicted he was and that he was on that dang computer 24/7. He found a therapist/counselor and started to go see him, BUT and this is a Bigg BUTT, the therapist NEVER HEARD of gaming addiction. So why did my son continue to go see him? I have no CLUE, other than to get brainwashed by the counselor that His Mother (me) was the problem. Come to find out that counselor was a pedophile. AnyyyyWAYYYYY he goes to a different therapist/counselor and once again SHE has never heard of gaming addiction, so why did my son continue to go see her? I have no clue, but I think they both brainwashed my son to believe that his mother (me) is the problem. I didn’t realize this until about 6 months ago, because all of a sudden my son starts bringing up things from his childhood that I did. I yelled at him several times. I know it’s not nice, but I do not deny it, BUT I do deny seriously abusing him. He started acting like I was SERIOUSLY abusing him and that he is having these psychological issues NOW, because I yelled at him when he was young! I don’t believe it. I can go on and on, but I do not want to write a novel. What triggered me to do research on schizophrenia is how one week he says “I love you, you’re my MOM” and comes to hug me in a loving manner. Then the next week he will call me on the phone and ask me if I remember the time when he was 8 years old and did not allow him to go outside to play with his friend because his friend was being nasty to him? I said “Yes” and he slams the phone down on my ear. Then the next week he talks to me like nothing ever happened. Then the next week he tells me that our relationship is too close and he needs to be an independent responsible adult and he only wants to contact me every 6 months! Mind you I am not arguing at all. I am just listening and acknowledging. He started to forget a LOT of things like paying his car insurance once a month. If I brought it up he would get angry. He was the one getting angry, not me! I started noticing that he would only shower when going to work. If he was off for 3 - 4 days- NO SHOWER!! I could “smell” him. He would tell his gaming friends on the computer that he doesn’t want to talk to them anymore because he wants to move forward in life and he told me he was going to sell his computer then turns around and goes right back to his old ways. Oh my God, I am frazzled. I found out he was smoking pot. Then he tells me he was drinking beer, wine, whiskey. THIS IS NOT MY SON. He was never into drugs and drinking and I don’t know if he is still drinking and doing marijuana or not, because he shut me out of his life. I know he started smoking cigarettes last year. I have not said ANYTHING negative to him about any of this stuff going on. I have just stood there and allowed him to lash at me and that’s all. I acknowledged YELLING at him several times when he was younger and apologized. He said " I don’t believe you are sorry!!" … He also told me a few months ago that he was hearing voices. I thought he was joking. I said “your conscience, you mean?” He said “No a mans voice”!!! Telling him something negative about himself!!
Oh My god!!
I want to add a link here if possible and also mention that there is book out called GLOW KIDS by Nicholas Kardaras. He also runs a retreat in the country to get people off electronics.
(virtual reality helmets are dangerous as well)
Here is the link on gaming psychosis:

PS we are a holistic family and do not get involved with any kind of prescriptions for good reasons.
Thanks! and I apologize if this was very lengthy

Welcome to the forum. It is a good place to come for learning what others have been through. I was able to eventually get my daughter onto effective treatment after 2.5 years of psychosis using advice and things I learned from this forum, NAMI, reddit, the police, doctors, courts and just plain luck.

My daughter developed sz at age 32, it had nothing to do with gaming as she rarely if ever played for most of her life. In my education about sz I have found that most caregivers and their loved one’s doctors have pretty close to zero idea what caused the sz to begin. It is not obvious, the cause.

The important thing to me of out what you posted is that your son says he is hearing a voice speaking to him of negative things. Hallucinations are part of sz’s symptoms, and a common one is hearing voices. If he is aware of the voice, and is willing, I believe you should have him evaluated. Early determination and early medicine is, I think, very important. Insight into hearing voices is rare, if your son knows he is hearing a voice, that is a good thing. And it is even better that he told you about it. Many people affected by this awful disease have NO idea that the voices they hear aren’t real. My daughter was positive her voices were real beings in the sky that were watching over the city and communicating only to her.

Keep coming here, reading, learning, posting, and take actions to get your son evaluated. Good luck.

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Thanks for the reply! I highly doubt he will take any prescriptions and will most likely search for alternative medicine. I can’t talk with him,because he has been seeing me as the enemy lately. I have decided that I am going to make a video for him. Hopefully he will watch it.
Thanks again!

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Try and remember when he’s on the’ verbal attack mode ‘that its the disease talking not your son . I get the same from my 23 year old son .’ I never know what to expect ’ so i take one day at a time . They take their frustrations out on the closest ones to them , its so hard and stressful and you learn to deal with it even though you get many shocking surprises , hang in there , this is a great forum to vent and gain knowledge .

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To be honest with you, it can be your son is weak willed and took offense to whatever you said as a mom when he was growing up. Or it can really be you having issues in the upbringing of your son and you refuse to acknowledge it, like my mom. My mom does not realize what she says is hurtful and damaging and does not help the situation at all. You might love your son, but you don’t know what’s best for him. However I agree that early treatment with medications will prevent his illness from deteriorting. Make sure you stay clear of alcohol, weed and drugs or he will get worse.

Thanks for your reply. I would like to add a little bit more information on the upbringing of my son. I, 100%, agree with you about what you stated concerning your mom. I was brought up in a dysfunctional family. My father was actually a Sunni Muslim and VERY abusive towards women. (plus an alcoholic) My mother was a co-dependent and enabler. I have an older brother (estranged) and he turned out to be just like my dysfunctional parents. I was the scapegoat in the family. When I found out I was pregnant I immediately went to the library and did research on proper parenting skills, because I did not want to do to my son what was done to me. I breast fed him and we had a STRONG mother & child bond. Our relationship was not your stereotypical mother son relationship. Unfortunately his biological father was just like my father which I did not realize until after my son was about 4 months old and his father started showing his true colors (he showed me that he was an alcoholic as well) I did not realize at the time that children who were raised in dysfunctional families will tend to subconsciously find partners that were like their parents. I left his biological father when he was 5 months old. My own Mother was emotionally and psychologically abusive to me and I did not realize this until AFTER my own father died. I am attempting to make this short, because I could write a novel and don’t want your eyes to bleed lol!!

I had to limit my sons exposure to my own mother because she would attempt to “buy his love” through many, many gifts. When my son was old enough to understand the mind games she was playing I explained to him and also how she would treat me. My son as VERY aware of what was going on and he learned a lot. Eventually I had to cut ties cold turkey with my own mother (she was alcoholic as well).
I hooked up with a man that I thought was my “soulmate” Come to find out he was also a fraud. There was not much drama during the upbringing of my son in the family home. The man I was with was a passive aggressive and he hid it pretty well in front of my son. He was a retired military vet and most of them know exactly how to psychologically abuse. So that’s how some of the “yelling” came about with my son. While this man would get sarcastic with me or give me the silent treatment it would stress me out and I sometimes would yell at my son, but please believe me, when I look back on the past, I yelled at my son in an abusive fashion no more than 5 times!!! When you stated above “it can be your son is weak willed and took offense to whatever you said as a mom when he was growing up”, I think that hit the nail on the head.

My son was a VERY kind and loving child. You could see the love emanating from his soul through his interactions with the neighborhood children. When I yelled at him those times I do believe I shattered him. The video games were a way for him to bury the pain, I think. Still, while he was growing up, we would treat each other respectfully and with love. There were no visible resentments or any type of dysfunction between us. When he was about 17-18 is when I started to notice how bad the video game and computer addictions were. That is all explained in my first post on this forum. With the links I provided it explains even more how serious electronic addiction are to children and basically everyone. The brain is not meant to be swimming in dopamine and has horrible consequences. Plus, I know that many therapists will shift the blame to the parents and I AGREE that many parents are narcissistic/abusive, and will damage their children because MY parents were abusive.

This is what brought me to the conclusion that my son was brainwashed against me, because neither of those therapists knew ANYTHING about video game addictions (which is even recognized by the World Health Organization) yet my son continued to go to them for therapy then come home an immediately get on his video games again. Made no sense to me, but I did not want to get in his face about it, because I did not want to be controlling like my parents were. I did mention to him “Why are you still going to see them if they don’t understand gaming addictions?” He said that he like talking to them. (sigh) I feel like a failure, but what keeps my going is FAITH. I have faith that this will get better, because I have read that psychological issues with electronic addictions CAN be reversed. I understand that no one can help an addict, but the addict themselves. So time will tell. I do not contact him, and he reaches out to me every so often. It is painful, as I am sure you all know, to see your own child have these struggles and then turn around and put the blame on us. This is how I look at it: You can only blame others for so long. Just like I blamed my own parents for my issues it took me awhile to understand that I am the one that needs to make changes to MYSELF and stop blaming my parents. I forgive them, for my own piece of mind, but I cannot have a relationship with them (dad is dead, mother is still alive) BECAUSE there is no acknowledgement that I was abused nor changes. That’s the thing, I acknowledged to my son that I was the cause of his gaming addictions, I acknowledged to my son that I should not have yelled at him the way that I did and I am not like that anymore, because I am living single now and have peace and quiet in my life with no one psychologically abusing me. My son understands all that. He even told me that he understand the abuse that I went through. I just hope one day he can find it in his heart to forgive me for not being perfect. Like I said, we had a great mother son relationship and I have faith that one day we will again. Thanks for replying twice to me and forgive me for writing so much. Have a great day!

Hi Linda, I posted a response to Lirik, below.
I thought I had 2 replies from Lirik, but see one was from you.
So my reply is to both of you. Thanks for the comments.
I highly appreciate the insight!
Have a great day

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Are you just suspecting he has schizophrenia or has he actually been diagnosed? A therapist cannot diagnose, only a psychiatrist is qualified to. People play a lot of video games and become addicted to them because they are depressed and low in self esteem. Some people also genuinely enjoy them greatly. I am still unsure if you are actually saying video game addiction caused schizophrenia, cause it definitely doesn’t.

Hi Lirik,
Yes, I am suspecting.
I stated in my prior posts that he told me he hears voices at times.
I also added some links in my prior posts about the harmful affects of video games and electronics, not just for children, but everyone. The human brain is not meant to be bathed in dopamine all day long.
My son BECAME depressed BECAUSE of video game addictions. He wasn’t before. Also from all the research I have done on schizophrenia it seems that no one knows what the cause is.
Thanks for replying and have a Great day!

The article does not say computer addiction causes Schizophrenia. It said it causes psychosis which can be attributed to many things. And the psychosis Resolved after the gaming was stopped.

You mentioned you son has begun using marijuana. Look up Marijuana Psychosis.
It can cause paranoia, hearing voices, out of touch with reality. It can be temporary and also become permanent like it did with my son - who BTW never liked computers or TV. Now my son is diagnosed Schizoaffective and on Clozaril. I wish I knew about MJ Psychosis years ago or could help him stop using it. 10% of the population can get it from smoking weed
and they don’t have to be susceptible to mental illness.

I have another son who was addicted to computers and now makes his living on them and he’s fine with no mental illness. But he did go through years of blaming me for all kinds of things despite he had an idyllic childhood. Now we get along great.

Stop blaming yourself and look at what your son is doing to himself. The drugs
are most likely to blame and parents are the last ones to find out exactly when it began or how bad the problem is.

Thank you for replying. When I read in the article about the gamers "hearing voices’ that’s what struck me. I do not know if he is still using marijuana or drinking alcohol. The last email he sent he told me he was vaping CBD oil and it was helping. He knows that he has something going on with his brain. This is why he starting blaming me for yellng at him those few times when he was younger.

Thanks for sharing about your 2 sons. I guess everyone is different. What my son was going through is the dopamine “high” that he was getting from the rewards of gaming. That was/is the addiction. One other thing that happened is that I found out that he lied to me about being able to have pets at his apartment complex, so I took his cat with me when we got our own apartments. I found out recently that he can have pets so on March 17th I dropped off his cat and told him I can’t take care of her anymore. There was no discussion, because I did not want him arguing with me, I just dropped the cat off at his doorstep then called him on the phone, told him she was at his doorstep, hung up the phone and took off. He sends me an email a couple weeks later telling me that she is doing great. He took her to the vet and found out she is pre-diabetic and had to change her diet. Guess what? He called me this morning to tell me that if I want to say goodbye to her to stop by, because he was dropping her off at animal control to get adopted, because he can’t take care of her and in the end she is just a cat!!
I was shocked he said that, because he always showed her love. I told him that at her age she would not get adopted and most likely will get euthanized. So here I am getting my place ready for the cat to come back.
WOW!!! As I am typing this to you he sends me another email telling me that he now decided to keep her and my head is spinning. I replied telling him to please never drop her off at animal control and to contact me if he wants to get rid of her again. WOW. Thanks for your suggestions. It’s is not easy for me to talk to him about anything, because he gets upset with me and I am ALWAYS calm as a cucumber!. I am going to make a video for him to listen to (maybe he will, maybe he won’t) this way he can’t yell at me.

I can’t deal with his dramas. He is old enough to get the tools to help himself. He is highly intelligent and maybe like that American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. it is a bit too much for him :-(, but I am not going to allow him to abuse me.
Have a great day!

It sounds like you know what it is like to grow up with very difficult parents all too well, and like you have struggled trying to come to terms with a codependant mother that was very dependent on “playing mindgames” in order to cope. I write because I’ve had a similar experience, and I’ve struggled finding common ground and sensible compromises where realistically there was little room for any.
You say you had to shield your son from the mind-games your mother was playing with him, that you had to create distance to your mother because of the mind-games that she was playing on you and that your son is now playing mind-games with you.

I think the most scary part of of having difficult parents for me were that with a lot of work I came to find difficult traits like that are inherited and I came to see some of them in myself, it’s not a pleasant experience to see in the mirror part of what you struggled against throughout life, but it’s par for the course is co-dependant/narcissistic families and knowing that makes it a little better I guess, and knowing that if I can recognize difficult behavior in myself I have SOME chance of stopping it as opposed to denial and blameshifting where I have none (like my mother lol, the horror!)

Your son needs to make mistakes, and he will make a lot of them but if your feedback to him as he learns is “see I TOLD YOU, now do A,B,C,D like mother tells you” then things are going to get difficult. He needs to live his life and learn from his mistakes, and you can help by trying to be honest with him, and by trying to get familiar with your own limitations on your own time.

Your son has his own wounds to heal, and those wounds might be part of why video games are so attractive, pixels have none.
Could your mother have “fixed you” when you were your son’s age?
Did she try?
My own mother did, but she has a whole lot of trouble recognizing the difference and agency of people from her own sense of self, and any attempts to set boundaries are directly or indirectly countered because in her mind “mother knows best” and she run’s in very energetic circles trying to prove exactly that no matter how many boundaries she has to transgress, how many games she can talk herself into it.
You’ve had difficult circumstances as a parent so far, and part of that means your son had difficult circumstances too and maybe he needs some distance and a shrink to grok all that out.

Hey There! Thanks for replying. I stated in my prior posts that previously my son and I had a good relationship. When he brought up those few times I yelled at him I humbly took accountability. I acknowledged my faults and I apologized. What many people do not realize is when you’re in any type of relationship with people that have Cluster B personality disorders it will take it’s toll on you. I had my mother and my sons father toying with me. At the time I did not know anything about Cluster B’s nor their favorite psychological abuse tactic of gas lighting. I don’t know if you’ll understand this, but I am one of those “people” that will TRIGGER anyone that has Cluster B personality disorders. I don’t even need to say a word, but just be near someone with those disorders and they instantly hate me. LOL! This is how I learned so much about people.
My brother turned into my parents. Abusive. I did not. Many years ago I took a long hard look in the mirror and did research. I figured out that the only person I can change is myself and I did, because I did not want to do to my son what was done to me.

The main issue I am having with my son is that he gaslights ME. He has anger issues. He gets defensive, sarcastic and shifts blame. I am NOT going to take that kind of abuse from anyone anymore!!
You stated “if your feedback to him as he learns is “see I TOLD YOU, now do A,B,C,D like mother tells you” then things are going to get difficult”. My mother was like that I am not. I cannot even talk to him about anything anymore without him getting upset. That is not normal. I am the type of person that enjoys discussing matters with logic and reason WITHOUT getting emotional. You can’t have any kind of discussion with a person that gets emotional. In the past we were able to have deep meaningful conversations without him getting upset. He has changed and it is his JOB to fix himself, not mine.

The main difference between me and people with Cluster B personality disorders is that I am humble and loving. I never give anyone an attitude, but I get attitude from others. I ignore them now. I gave my son much love during his formative years. He even acknowledged that in the past and said that he believes he became so smart, because I used to read many, many books to him when he was younger.

I had to cut ties with all of my family members many years ago and that was very liberating. Just because someone is a blood relative does not mean we are supposed to take their abuse. I have much peace and harmony in my soul now except for my son and his abuse. I am not taking it anymore. I don’t mind giving him space. He has had his space ever since he moved out on his own which was about 2.5 years ago. I don’t bother him, but like I stated over and over I am not going to take his abuse. The video I am going to make for him and send to him will explain all that. I am basically going to cut ties with him until he heals himself. I do not need nor want drama in my life anymore. His car insurance is on my plan and he can’t even remember to pay his car insurance once a month without my reminding him to pay his share. That will end soon enough. He can get his own car insurance and have it lapse. Video game addiction is real and it is serious. If he wants to turn into a computer, then so be it. I want no part of it.

I appreciate your insight. Have a great day!

WOW!!! I do not know what the connection is with this website and my son (LMAO!!!) but after I sent the last reply he CALLS me, freaking out about the cat. He is dropping of the cat, because HE CAN’T TAKE CARE OF HIS CAT!! Me? I was calm as a cucumber and said “bring her over”. I am not going to feed his drama and when he gets here I am saying nothing to him. Drama, Drama, Drama., Not for me!!

LMAO!!!