UK's first gaming addiction centre opened

The first addiction clinic for those addicted to gaming has opened, in the glamorous location of Weston-super-Mare. Broadway Lodge, which already had courses in its residential rehabilitation unit for those suffering from drink, drug and gambling addictions, is now using the Minnesota Method Twelve-Step programme for gamers who can’t wrench themselves from their consoles or PC.

Ever since MMORPGs and other huge online games like Second Life starting springing up, concern for the rise of addiction to games has grown, particularly for young adults who play games for seriously long stretches of time, sometimes not sleeping in order to level up, or whatever it is you do in those things.

‘Obviously this is the very early stages of researching how many youngsters are affected,’ said Brian Dudley, the centre’s chief executive, to the Telegraph. ‘But I would stick my neck out and say between five and ten per cent of parents or partners would say they know of someone addicted to an online game.’

However, how you treat such an addiction is a trickier prospect than weaning people of alcohol or drugs, as long as the internet remains such a powerful tool in everyday life.

‘You can't simply say to a 23-year-old male “you should never use the internet again”, it's just not practical,’ he continued. ‘So we go through all the issues surrounding gaming use and ensure there are triggers through which an addict recognises their usage has become a problem.’

‘It's not unusual for people to get so obsessed with online gaming that they forget to eat and drift towards an anorexic and undernourished state,’ added counsellor Peter Smith. ‘You have a relationship with characters in the game that give you an artificial feeling, created by your body's natural endorphins, when you have killed some monster or solved a problem.’

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