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FAQ about Reboot

Is electronic addiction real?

The World Health Organization recently released information regarding a diagnosis of gaming addiction. In particular, they provided specific diagnostic information and guidelines for professionals to use to be able to diagnose gaming addiction.

It can be helpful that parents to read what the World Health Organization provided.

What is gaming disorder?

Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behavior (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behavior pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

The most prominent of which is that there is a significant impact in their life. There is often a reduction of their activities, social life, as well as a negative impact to some critical areas, such as grades and schoolwork.

There are also social media and other on-line addictions.

Do all gamers have addiction?

The answer on the surface is clearly no. We know that there are individuals who game and do not have gaming addiction that can "take it or leave it." However, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that there is a changing of the brain for those individuals who are susceptible and become engaged in electronic and gaming addiction issues. This change in the brain is much like other addictions in that they are seeking more and more of the gaming time. There are also those individuals with electronic overconsumption.

Researchers have found functional and structural changes in the neural reward system in gaming addicts, in part by exposing them to gaming cues that cause cravings and monitoring their neural responses. These neural changes are basically the same as those seen in other addictive disorders

Thus, I would suggest that you think about there are clinical and sub-clinical individuals who have these issues. As such, some individuals have gaming issues/overconsumption, but not full out addiction. These individuals can still benefit from our program.

Isn't this just a phase my son is going through?

Electronics have permeated the entire generation. I compare electronic addiction this to a food addiction in the sense that everybody eats food, but some people have food addictions. Yes, everybody is exposed to electronics, but only a certain amount of people are suffering from the negative ramifications of the use of electronics. Negative ramifications may include (1) a negative impact in their life in some way, (2) loss of friendships, (3) increased irritability, (4) impact on sleep, (5) drop in school grades, (6) loss of other activities, and (7) irritability when they are asked to stop the game, as just a few to look at.

Do all the individuals want to go to treatment?

The answer is absolutely not. Just like any other behavioral or psychological issue, many times for children and adolescents the parents have to step in and say, "You are going for help." This is a reason why a boarding school structure can be very helpful in that it relies not only on therapy, but a social, academic, and emotional milieu (environment) that reinforces better skills.

What do you do in the program?

The program involves individual, family and group therapy as well as a healthy environment that is in a traditional boarding school. This structure leads to positive interactions and an opportunity to rebuild activities of their life as well as rebuild social connections. Our program called Reboot is a well-integrated approach.

How does your program compare to other programs?

Reboot is a treatment program based in a traditional boarding school setting with positive role models and opportunities to make true friendships. We are not a program that takes students with severe drug and alcohol issues or severe behavior problems. Note that there are many programs out there that are primarily drug and alcohol programs who are accepting students now with electronic addiction issues. We don't believe these populations mix well and should not be mixed. If you are a parent, investigate wisely. Know what peers your student is going to be with, who their therapist will be, and what is the environment itself is like.

How does your treatment philosophy differ from other places?

Dr. Jay Berk, a leader in the field of electronic, online, and gaming addiction/overconsumption with over 25 years of experience, is director of the program. His philosophy is that we are not just working on the addiction, we are working on what put them there in the first place. Generally, we see depression, anxiety, social rejection, lack of social skills, high functioning autism etc., that led them to the internet/gaming challenges and the relative safety of the virtual world. Without fixing these issues, the situation does not improve. Thus, our program is holistic in the sense that it works on teaching recreation, social skills, and a healthy and balanced lifestyle, all in a positive social environment with small class sizes and educational supports, if needed. The goal is to help the student understand the reasons that put them to the gaming or internet overconsumption in the first place, thus helping them carry the changes they need outside of our structure! That is where many programs fail to deliver. Many programs do not believe this way, but we do.

Does your treatment program include parent contact?

Parent contact is an important part of our program. Parents can participate in person if you are local or via our HIPAA-compliant internet portal for safety reasons, as well as privacy. We know that the parents need to be part of the solution. For many students on visits and summers, the structure must be kept in place or there will be a loss of the skills learned.

Is my insurance billable?

Yes, your insurance can be billed. We do not guarantee that there will be payment from the insurance company, but any insurance that is billed and pays you will be reimbursed part of your fee for the program. Check with your insurance carrier.

Why Grand River Academy?

Grand River Academy is a college preparatory boarding and day school that helps young men activate their social, emotional, and academic potential for lifelong success.

What kind of addictions do you treat?

We do not treat violent or extreme drug and alcohol individuals. We are careful about the mix of our students. Appropriate referrals include those with gaming addiction, those with social media addiction, online addictions, and other related disorders. Call us and check with us for more details.

What is your plan to help my child in the long run?

The plan is not to manage them but get them to manage themselves. This is a key variable in the equation. Many programs over-manage the individuals and keep them in a highly regulated position, which of course they look better in because it is being regulated by the adults. Our goal is to help your child be able to manage electronics, online media and/or video games, but in a healthy way. In the long run, it is not simply to remove the games, it is to help join with them to create solutions to use the games or internet appropriately.

Who is in charge of the Reboot program?

Dr. Jay Berk, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized speaker and clinician and directs Reboot. You may visit his website at for more information about his experience. Grand River Academy Faculty and staff are in charge of all aspects of daily living, education, and dorm life.

What about medication?

If your child is on medication, you may wish to continue with your provider in your own area. If not, we can help you find a provider near Grand River Academy.

Does Reboot have academics?

Academics are a very important part of the program. For individuals involved in our program, the goal is for them to not only manage the electronics, games, and online activity in a healthy way but also produce academic success. With classrooms very small in size, there is the opportunity to have each and every individual benefit from the opportunities educationally provided to them.

Is a boarding school a little extreme?

If you are looking at this information, you probably have tried things locally already. Besides boarding school offers a great opportunity for such individuals. There reason being there is already a positive environment with peers that are accepting and there is the opportunity for them to participate in a wealth of activities. Therefore, a target is re-growing some of the interest in other activities in their life. We know that it is a big jump for many individuals, but it does not have to be that way. Our admissions staff can assist you on each step! It can be a great experience and may be even the greatest experience the student has had in their life so far.

As they get better is there an opportunity to spend more time in the traditional Grand River Program?

The answer is yes, absolutely there is. All Reboot participants are a part of the main student body, as a matter of fact, the goal is that students will move from the structure of the Reboot program into a typical Grand River Academy student.

How is your program specific to my student?

Note that every student referred to us is individually assessed. The key to our success with students is understanding their journey towards electronics and how to replace what the electronics is doing for them; i.e., is it a social crutch, does it reduce anxiety/depression, etc. As such, an assessment phase will be completed along with a treatment plan that is specific to their needs.

What do I do if I have more questions?

Please contact our Admissions Office. We will be more than happy to talk to you and to set up a time with our clinical staff to discuss with you further information.

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