The UK’s first clinic specialising in video game addiction has been announced by the National Health Service in order to help young people who are hooked on gaming.
The Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders will be up and running later this month but referrals to the clinic can begin today, October 8. The specialist clinic will be available for gaming addicts aged between 13 and 25 and will look at ways to tackle “severe or complex behavioural issues associated with gaming.”
Gaming addiction is now officially recognised as a medical condition after the World Health Organisation included it in their International Classification of Diseases. NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said in a press release: “Health needs are constantly changing, which is why the NHS must never stand still – this new service is a response to an emerging problem, part of the increasing pressures that children and young people are exposed to these days.”
Stevens also called on the gaming industry to help tackle the issue of addiction and asked for companies to take more responsibility.
“The NHS should not be left to pick up the pieces,” he says. “Firms have a responsibility to their users as well as their shareholders and should do their utmost to prevent, rather than cash in on, obsessive or harmful behaviour.”
Addiction to video games is a growing issue which can have a negative impact on mental health, cause breakdowns in relationships with family and friends and also lead to financial difficulties.
Although the clinic is based in London, young people who are referred to it can access the help of its doctors and psychiatrists via video links as well as attend in person.