What just happened? Computer game addiction, especially among younger people, has been getting a lot of attention in recent times. The condition is being taken very seriously in the UK, where the country’s national health service has opened its first specialist clinic to treat those whose constant gaming is negatively impacting their lives.
As per The Guardian, the service is designed to help those aged 13 to 25 whose quality of life is being affected by the number of hours they spend playing games. Part of the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions in London, patients, who are referred by their doctors, can attend in person or have online consultations using Skype.
“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,” said Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England.
Back in 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) started the process of recognizing “gaming disorder” as a medical condition and it was later included in the beta version of the 11th edition of the International Classification of Diseases. In May this year, it was officially added to the disease dictionary. WHO defines sufferers as being unable to control the onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, and context of their gaming habit, and giving increasing priority to playing games over other life interests and daily activities.
Earlier this year, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said his company needed to take gaming addiction seriously and adopt countermeasures. This came after a UK inquiry heard from former addicts who spoke about the dangers of playing games excessively.
Yesterday, it was revealed that Epic Games is facing a class-action lawsuit for “knowingly” making Fortnite too addictive and failing to warn players that they may become addicted to the battle royale title.