I suddenly realised that this was exactly what had happened in the run-up to Christmas. From the beginning of October he started stressing about what to put on his Christmas list to Santa, which had to be posted on 1st November. Then a revised version went in the post early in December. He kept saying that he "couldn't wait 'till Christmas". I'm now beginning to think that this was literally true. It was just too stressful for him to wait. Throughout November and December his behaviour deteriorated. He bought 2 DS games in December, but that didn't help either. Christmas Eve he could not sleep, so neither could I. I nearly lost it, I just remember crying on the stairs at about 4am, as I had no idea how we were going to get through Christmas Day. Then on Christmas morning it was like the clouds parted - after opening his presents, suddenly all was well in CD's world. I'm also worried that this is the behaviour of an addict - the stress while he is waiting for his 'fix' and then the relief when he gets what he wants, which gradually wears off and stops completely when he identifies the next 'want'.
Finally I think I can put a label on one of his major problems - he cannot delay gratification. If he wants something, it has to be NOW. So I've identified one of the problems, the next step is to learn how to deal with it.
He was back to being difficult this morning, and I think it's because the I bought the game on-line, so now he is stressing about which day it is going to arrive. I won't make that mistake again!