Young Gaming Addicts Will Now Be Offered Treatment Through NHS

Henrietta Brewer
October 9, 2019

Opening as a section of the already established London based National Centre for Behavioural Addictions, the clinic will treat those aged between 13 and 25 both in person and through Skype consultations.

In addition to the focus on young people, comments from the clinic's director indicate that this new facility may focus on the impact addiction to video games has on a patient's immediate family.

"If we do stigmatise people basically as being addicted to video games, we might take away those video games when they might be a coping mechanism for a deeper, underlying problem like depression or anxiety", she said.

England's National Health Service (or NHS) is set to open the country's first specialist clinic created to treat young patients suffering from video game addiction.

As part of the National Center for Behavioral Addictions in London, the clinic is the first of its kind.

The World Health Organisation describes "gaming disorder" as a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour so severe that it takes "precedence over other life interests".

"Health needs are constantly changing, which is why the NHS must never stand still", said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, according to the Guardian. "Online gaming and social media firms make millions of pounds in profits and consequently have to take responsibility for securing their platforms and presenting ways to reduce the financial burden of health insurance". Until there is substantial investment in the nursing workforce, the safe and effective staffing of all services, in all settings will remain a challenge.

Like Smith above, Stevens thinks that "gambling and internet firms have a responsibility to their users as well as their shareholders".

Symptoms of addiction include lack of control over gaming and placing it as a huge priority at the expense of other things, including relationships, social life and studying.

Many countries are trying to tackle the issue of gaming and internet addiction.

The NHS is a taxpayer funded service that is free at the point of care, and with the NHS already suffering from a shortage of mental health nurses and doctors, there are some concerns about the staffing of the new service.

He quoted other countries that had banned under-16s from online gaming after midnight.

In Japan, players get an alert if they spend over a certain amount of time each month playing games.

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