NHS To Launch Centre for Internet Addicts, Will Initially Focus on Gaming Disorder

Gaming Addiction NHS

According to a report published by The Guardian, the first UK based publicly funded centre for Internet addicts is due to open soon in London. It will focus on gaming disorders at first, though there are plans to add cover other addictions due to the Internet.

Psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones, founder of the clinic, said:

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Gaming disorder is finally getting the attention it deserves. The distress and harm it can cause is extreme and I feel a moral duty on behalf of the NHS to provide the evidence based treatment these young people and their families need.

We are unlikely to witness an epidemic of young players with an addiction to gaming but for the ones who do struggle, the Centre for Internet Disorders will be a life-changer.

This is the first step, but the Centre for Internet Disorders will deal with other internet compulsions, if and when needed, when funding is available. If we end up with 20 people or 30 wanting to be treated for porn addiction, for example ... if we have got the funding for that then we could provide help.

The news comes after last week the World Health Organization confirmed gaming addiction in their revised ICD-11 draft, with the following description.

Gaming disorder is characterized by a pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour (‘digital gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’), which may be online (i.e., over the internet) or offline, manifested by: 1) impaired control over gaming (e.g., onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context); 2) increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities; and 3) continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences. The behaviour pattern is of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning. The pattern of gaming behaviour may be continuous or episodic and recurrent. The gaming behaviour and other features are normally evident over a period of at least 12 months in order for a diagnosis to be assigned, although the required duration may be shortened if all diagnostic requirements are met and symptoms are severe.

Meanwhile, various organizations in the games industry are trying to oppose the World Health Organization's decision.

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