First Internet Addiction Clinic Is Set to Focus on Newly Classified Gaming Disorders
As the gaming industry has continued to grow, so too have the concerns surrounding whether playing too many video games can be a mental health condition. Last year it was discovered that the World Health Organization(WHO) was planning to make this an official disorder in the latest edition of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), and just a few days ago the 11th edition was released claiming gaming was indeed an addiction. As such, it stands to reason that some would stand to profit, opening clinics set to target this gaming disorder.
Since WHO made their classification that gaming is indeed an addiction, a few private hospitals have been popping up around the United Kingdom set to help treat internet and gaming addictions. And while these private hospitals offer treatments, a newly established National Health Service (NHS) clinic will be the first publicly-funded clinic to focus on treating gaming addiction specifically. The founder of this clinic, Henrietta Bowden-Jones says, “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.”
While many outside of the gaming industry have been celebrating its classification as a disorder, both gamers and professionals of the industry alike are not. In fact, some mental health professionals believe the clinics are moving too fast and that the classification itself was way too premature. Anthony Bean, a psychologist that works in a mental health clinic in Texas says, “I don’t think a centre for gaming or internet addiction is a good idea … the worry is that it means you are only paying attention to what is going on in front of you rather than around you, which in this case would be the concept of a gaming disorder possibly suggesting that there could be no other reason why a person is seeking mental health treatment. A pigeonhole tactic could lead to misdiagnosis.”
While the diagnosis was spurned forward by the misconception that playing video games lead to violent behaviour, some studies have actually shown that gaming can have positive effects as well. Playing video games can improve hand-eye coordination, enhance problem-solving abilities and relieve stress/depression. After all, how many of us can say that we’ve never gone out and done anything remotely aggressive after playing a ton of video games? What are your thoughts on the diagnosis, as well as this private clinic set to get rid of our demons? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to keep it locked for more updates on the controversy.