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NHS opens clinic to help child addicts of computer games

It’s been likened to both alcoholism and drug-abuse, and research by market research company Savanta shows computer game addiction is on the rise - something Lysa Martin knows all too well. Mum Lysa has watched four of her sons succumb to the condition, and doesn’t know where to turn.

Her sons will wake up in the night to play games, become aggressive, and even hyperventilate when their games are taken away. Lysa’s eldest son Romario says the desire to get to the next level on any given game is what keeps him going. But could help finally be at hand?

Dr Henrietta Bowden-Jones has just founded the first NHS publicly funded gaming addiction clinic.

On the growing need for such clinics, she said: "What we are seeing tends to be teenage boys. One of the most surprising things is the aggression - indeed some violence is manifested in children who have always been kind and considerate to their parents."

And on what she would say to someone who walked through the clinic doors for the first time, she said: "An addiction is a very serious situation. Often an individual has lost control of their behaviour, and is suffering extremely negative consequences, be it on their health, on their emotional or psychological wellbeing, on the financial side if they’re gamblers…. Behavioural addictions can be treated very well, it's talking therapy, we do not use medication."

For further advice and information, call the National Centre for Gaming Disorders on 02073817722.

The research also found...

- 13% of 16-29 year olds worry they spend too much money on gaming

- 11% say gaming sometimes puts them in a bad mood

- 41% say gaming helps them de-stress

- 16% have encountered negative behaviour on gaming sites

- 18% play games on the toilet at the weekend

- 24% play games on the toilet during the weekend

- 20% say they find gaming stressful and frustrating

- 20% = I sometimes have late nights & miss out on my sleep because of gaming

- 12% spend less time with their family because of the time they spend gaming

- 14% say someone has told them they spend too much time playing games

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