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A centre focused on treating internet addiction is coming to London

The NHS will soon be launching the first-ever Centre for Internet Disorders

The NHS is looking to address internet, and specifically gaming, addiction in a way that hasn't been attempted before in the UK. While other countries across the globe have sought ways to address internet and/or gaming addiction, the UK is finally being spurred on to address it following the World Health Organization (WHO) classifying gaming disorder as a mental health condition earlier this week and defining it, in part, as “a pattern of gaming behavior (‘digital-gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’) characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities.”  

Per to The Guardian, the NHS will be creating the Centre for Internet Disorders. Run by the Central and North West London NHS Trust, the centre will put a special focus on gaming disorder. According to the clinic’s founder, psychiatrist Henrietta Bowden-Jones, this centre’s focus on the treatment of gaming disorder is deeply important. 

“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,’’ Bowden-Jones commented. 

At the time of reporting, enough funding has been secured for a weekly therapy group for gaming addicts, but Bowden-Jones hopes that focusing on the treatment of gaming disorder will just be the first step; the Centre for Internet Disorders wants to expand one the disorders it treats. “This is the first step, but the Centre for Internet Disorders will deal with other internet compulsions,” Bowden-Jones remarks, “if and when needed, when funding is available. If we end up with 20 people or 30 wanting to be treated for porn addiction, for example... if we have got the funding for that then we could provide help.”

There's currently no set date for when the program will be launched or the centre will be opened. While The Guardian does note the NHS’s plans are receiving some mixed reactions, with concerns that too specific a focus (in this instance, gaming disorder) could hinder more than help, there is overwhelming praise for this move that could hopefully but the Centre for Internet Disorders on the map.