NHS head calls for better protection from online gaming harms

In addition to the focus on young people, comments from the clinic's director indicate that this new facility may focus on the impact addiction to video games has on a patient's immediate family.

From today, Global Positioning System across England can refer people aged 13-25 years old thought to be addicted to gaming to the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions in London, which will include dedicated clinical psychologists, mental health nurses, therapists and psychiatrists for children and young people fighting addiction. It is part of the National Centre for Behavioural Addictions, which also supports those who are addicted to the internet.

As health needs change, so does the NHS, said chief executive Simon Stevens. The service has been established by the Central and North West London mental health trust and be located alongside the National Problem Gambling Clinic. Children and young people are constantly exposed to it these days.

While the World Health Organization classified gaming disorder as an addiction with "significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning", the Entertainment Software Association among other industry bodies released a statement suggesting that there is insufficient evidence to prove the condition exists.

News of the clinic has come several months after the World Health Organization, an agency of the United Nations, officially recognized "Gaming Disorder" as a disease. However, if you have sufficient concern and think someone you know has this disorder or even verges on hazardous gaming behaviour, there is now a new centre for those affected living in the UK.

"Whilst the NHS has a duty of care and is adapting to these modern challenges, it and taxpayers can't foot the bill alone", Smith said.

NHS England said that psychiatrists and clinical psychologists at the services will work with patients aged between 13-25 whose lives are being wrecked by severe or complex behavioural issues associated with gaming, gambling and social media.

He quoted other countries that had banned under-16s from online gaming after midnight.

Meanwhile, in Japan, players are alerted if they spend more than a certain amount of time each month playing games.

However, he called on gambling and internet firms to "prevent rather than cash in on obsessive or harmful behaviour", saying the NHS should not "be left to pick up the pieces".

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