From Survivor to Thriver

Leveling Up in Real Life with Agam Dhawan

December 05, 2023 Erik DaRosa & Marc Fernandes Episode 139
From Survivor to Thriver
Leveling Up in Real Life with Agam Dhawan
Show Notes

Do you know someone struggling with a gaming addiction? 

Gaming can be a great way to decompress and relax, but when it starts to interfere with your normal functions and day-to-day life, it becomes a problem. In this episode of From Survivor to Thriver, we sat down with Dr. Agam Dhawan to discuss the signs and symptoms of gaming addiction, what causes it, and how you can get the help that’s needed. 

Dr. Agam Dhawan is a psychiatrist who specializes in treating mental illness (depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD & video game addiction) in male gamers through his private practice called Level Up Psychiatry.  

Growing up he felt lonely, felt girls didn’t like him and no one wanted to be his friend. Gaming was his escape. He’d daydream until the bell rang, come home, binge Oreo cookies, and game in the basement until it got dark. And honestly? Agam loved gaming. 

Eight years later as a psychiatrist, it's now his mission to help young men level up in real life. He could've gone down the dark road of being lonely, spending Friday nights on video games or porn and he’s grateful he didn't go down this path. 

Today, he shows men they can level up their mental health, fitness, grooming, and social skills in real life, just like stats in their favorite video game.  

In today’s episode, we cover: 

  • The difference between a healthy relationship with gaming and a gaming addiction
  • The role of male parental figures in seeking out mental health care
  • How to create boundaries around gaming 
  • How motivational interviewing can help understand addiction
  • The true danger behind video game addiction
  • The psychological reason that  gaming is so addicting, particularly in men
  • How you can level up in real life 
  • The type of help available to people with gaming addictions
  • Key signs and symptoms of someone with a gaming addiction
  • What caregivers should and shouldn’t do for those with addiction

We hope you enjoyed our conversation with Agam! If you want to learn more and find out how to work with him, you can check out his website. You can also follow him on Instagram. 

Thanks again for tuning in. We are so grateful to each and every one of you. Please remember to leave a rating and review of our show. It helps us grow and reach those who need it. Also, make sure to subscribe so you never miss an episode! 


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“If we look at any type of addiction work, we know that the change has to come from within the person. That's just a fact.” -Agam 

“Guys are more drawn towards that achiever mentality that draws them really strongly to gaming and can lead to addiction.” -Agam

“In the casino or in the gaming world, they’ve perfected that idea of we're going to keep you in this chair because we know we can play around physiologically and psychologically with you. And when that dopamine rush comes, the last thing you're going to want to do is get up and leave.” -Erik 

“With people that have mental health issues or mental injuries, they have to know that there's a way through it.” -Marc