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Most gamers who seek help are not addicted

Posted on Friday, November 28 2008 @ 07:31:26 CET by


Keith Bakker, the founder and head of Europe's first and only clinic to treat gaming addicts, now believes gaming is a social rather than a psychological problem. Bakker told BBC News that ninety percent of the young people who seek treatment for compulsive video gaming are not addicted, and he says the root cause for excessive gaming lies with parents who have failed in their duty of care.
But the clinic is changing its treatment as it realises that compulsive gaming is a social rather than a psychological problem.

Using traditional abstinence-based treatment models the clinic has had very high success rates treating people who also show other addictive behaviours such as drug taking and excessive drinking.

But Mr Bakker believes that this kind of cross-addiction affects only 10% of gamers. For the other 90% who may spend four hours a day or more playing games such as World of Warcraft, he no longer thinks addiction counselling is the way to treat these people.

"These kids come in showing some kind of symptoms that are similar to other addictions and chemical dependencies," he says.

"But the more we work with these kids the less I believe we can call this addiction. What many of these kids need is their parents and their school teachers - this is a social problem."

In response to this realisation the clinic has changed its treatment programme for gamers to focus more on developing activity-based social and communications skills to help them rejoin society.



 



 

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