The psychiatrist who treated the 15-year-old hospitalized in Castellón for an abusive use of the Fortnite video game explained this Wednesday that the patient became connected to the screens 20 hours a day and it has recommended that all parents limit the time that minors spend with these devices and that the little ones “do not have contact with them due to a developmental issue.”
This is how the doctor explained it Matías Real, a psychiatrist responsible for the child and adolescent mental care program at the Castellón Provincial Hospital and a member of the team that cared for the boy affected by this addiction.
Real has indicated that there was no case published in the scientific literature that he would have needed hospital admission to detoxify from the use of a video game.
This case, he added, is an adolescent who had progressively increased play time and abandoned activities of his daily life, from social relationships and time with friends to aspects of personal hygiene (showering or changing clothes) or even eating habits -not going out to lunch or dinner with family members.
This attitude, the doctor explained, was accompanied by “intense emotional distress” to avoid facing reality, which further increased playtime.
“When the problem was very big I got to play 18 or 20 hours with exclusive dedication“Real pointed out. In this sense, he has indicated that, when activity began to be limited, although the problem could not be solved, it was improving, but” all the time I was at home I had to dedicate it to the screens.
“as if it were an addiction to a chemical substance”
In the most complicated moments, the doctor has indicated, “he was not aware of the problems that it generated“” Then yes, but I did not see the relationship between spending so much time playing and abandoning other things, “he added.
The medical team then decided to do an intervention “as if it were an addiction to a chemical substance” and, for this, an income was programmed to act as a detoxification, in this case, of the screens.
Real has explained that an income of these characteristics allows, during the initial weeks, “to isolate the environment, including the behavior-problem -in this case the game-“. “After the first few days, in which the discomfort increases, allows us to decrease the playing time, which makes possible a detailed analysis with the patient, “he added.
We then proceeded to “a progressive reincorporation” after the first weeks of greater isolation so that he could regain contact with his family and his surroundings until he was able to return home. Thus, he could feel accompanied and safe, while returning to the hospital to work with him after discharge, as a follow-up.
This follow-up continued for about 8 months and finally he was discharged permanently to continue with his life in his educational environment, after leaving the therapeutic treatment and resuming a normalized use of the screens, with time limitations and conditions.