United Kingdom launches first specialist clinic for game addiction

The NHS says it is responding to an'emerging problem

As per The Guardian, the service is created to help those aged 13 to 25 whose quality of life is being affected by the number of hours they spend playing games.

A Canadian law firm is now suing Epic Games for endangering two young people who have created Fortnite addiction.

The new service is part of the Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders.

The WHO defines Gaming Disorder 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".

The NHS announced in June that children with a gaming addiction could get access to professional treatment via a dedicated gambling clinic. Treatment will start next month, with patients being able to attend a physical appointment at the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions in London or online via Skype.

"Health needs are constantly changing, which is why the NHS must never stand still", the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, told The Guardian.

Stevens added that the games industry also has a responsibility to its users to prevent addiction.

NHS England said that psychiatrists and clinical psychologists at the services will work with patients aged between 13-25 whose lives are being wrecked by severe or complex behavioural issues associated with gaming, gambling and social media. Meanwhile, it seems to be hinted that laws banning children from online gaming for certain periods / hours could be one part of the solution, going forward.

In China, internet giant Tencent has also limited the hours that children can play its most popular games.

Up to 14 new adult NHS gambling clinics are being opened across the UK. The clinic will require mental health nurses, but there are now 40,000 nursing positions waiting to be filled just in England.

The new centre will concentrate on children harmed by their obsession with playing computer games.

Following a nine-month investigation, the United Kingdom parliament's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee recommended last month that the British government should regulate loot boxes under gambling law, accusing the games industry of a "lack of honesty and transparency", giving the government grounds to "question what these companies have to hide".



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