NHS opens first specialist children's gaming addiction clinic opens

Web giants 'cashing in' on misery of children, says NHS boss, amid surge in treatment for gaming addiction

Web giants 'cashing in' on misery of children, says NHS boss, amid surge in treatment for gaming addiction

Global Positioning System in the United Kingdom will now be able to refer young people to a clinic that has been established in order to address the recently defined "gaming disorder", a health problem that has been seen to impact the lives of a rapidly increasing number of children and adolescents. Both services will treat children and young adults aged 13-25.

A spokesman for the Affiliation of UK Interactive Entertainment stated: "Video games are performed healthily by hundreds of thousands of parents across the UK every day".

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

Last summer, HEXUS reported upon the World Health Organisation (WHO) including "gaming disorder" in its newly published International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) handbook.

A man, named only as Steve whose son was addicted, said: "It is awful".

The disorder may manifest itself through "impaired control over gaming", increasingly putting video games ahead of other "life interests and activities", and continuing to put in long play sessions despite obvious negative consequences in matters of "personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning".

While acknowledging the stopping power of the NHS and the new initiative, Stevens emphasized on the responsibility that gambling companies had in keeping underage users at bay, and not instilling problematic behavior.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England said "Health needs are constantly changing, which is why the NHS must never stand still".

The measure follows a previous announcement in June that children suffering from gambling addiction may seek help at 14 new NHS gambling clinics all across the country. South Korea, for example, has put a restriction on the hours that children under 16 can access online gaming, between 12 am and 6 am they are banned from playing.

In China, internet giant Tencent has also limited the hours that children can play its most popular games. The clinic will be based in London and will be a part of the National Center for Behavioural Addictions.

Previously, the NHS opened The Northern Gambling Service clinic in Leeds created to tackle gambling addiction among youngsters as well as adults.

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones, director of the Centre for Internet and Gaming Disorders and the Royal College of Psychiatrists' spokeswoman on behavioural addictions, said: "Gaming disorder is a mental health condition which can have a hugely debilitating effect on people's lives, both for patients and their families who can be left feeling utterly helpless in the wake of their loved one's addiction".

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