By Dolline Mukui.

We are all at least somewhat familiar with one game or another, and even if you’ve never been a ‘gamer’, I bet you can’t say that you never found yourself gripped by the mischievous Angry Birds, the fast paced Temple Run or the sickly sweet and addictive Candy Crush. But, even if we have all fallen prey to the world of competition and ‘levelling up’, has the nation‘s addiction become that bad? So bad that we have had to resort to opening up an internet addiction centre?

The Central and North West London NHS Foundation has announced that it is set to launch its first NHS funded addiction centre in the UK in the next few weeks. The addiction center will aim to tackle gaming disorders and other online addictions in the future. Because clearly we’re only getting worse, right?

Psychiatrist and clinic founder Henrietta Bowden-Jones told The Guardian, the clinic will provide treatment, do research and give advice to families.

Henrietta also said ‘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.’

The World Health Organisiation (WHO) has classified gaming disorder as an addiction earlier in the week after it placed it on its International Classification of Diseases (ICD) manual.

Online addiction is now an official disease recognised by the reputable World Health Organisation. 

However, experts say that not enough research has been conducted into the effect excessively gaming has on the human condition and there is therefore currently a lack of scientific evidence to demonstrate addiction and making a hobby seem abnormal.

WHO’s official definition of gaming disorder includes a pattern of gaming which is out of control for 12 months, an increase in priority to gaming to the point that it takes precedence in one’s daily activities and the continuation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For the NHS to open a clinic funded by them shows a shift in peoples behavior patterns. It also shows what the advances in technology can do to a person.

Can the modern day society live in a world without this kind of entertainment, or at least, enhanced limited access? Who exactly is to blame?

In the 21 century we see kids as young as 1 years old being handed tablets to calm them down, to distract them, to keep them quiet for minutes to hours on end, but do we set boundaries to their access? We allow kids to have 24-hour access to their games in their rooms but do we really know how long they are spending on it? Have we started planting seeds of addiction into their lives, or are we planting seeds of addiction into our own?

You have to ask yourself these questions because at the end of the day this is now our reality, it’s not a game we can pause and carry on with the next morning. So ask yourself, how long does it take you to tell yourself Game Over?

 

Dolline is a traveller, journalist and blogger who has a constant desire to try new things. She is a very spontaneous person; you might find her skydiving over the Kenyan coast or kayaking on Lake Como. She can be an over thinker who considers every possible outcome, but if she’s ever caught by surprise, she welcomes the change that was not planned. However, she is a very simple person who is up for a good laugh or a book and enjoys living in the moment. Dolline also writes for her small personal blog called ‘Swatches of Beauty’ and contributes to a radio show called a ‘A Chat with Elle Celeste’.

Twitter: @ceraz_x