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Expert Says Compulsive Gamers 'Not Addicts'

by Tanya Thomas on November 26, 2008 at 9:55 AM
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Expert Says Compulsive Gamers 'Not Addicts'

A leading expert has debunked claims that young people who request compulsive computer gaming treatment are addicted to it in any way.

According to Keith Bakker the founder and head of Europe's first and only clinic to treat gaming addicts, compulsive gaming is a social rather than a psychological problem.

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The Smith and Jones Centre in Amsterdam, has treated hundreds of young gamers since the clinic opened in 2006. But the clinic is changing its treatment following the realization.

The clinic has had very high success rate by using traditional abstinence-based treatment models to treat people who also show other addictive behaviors such as drug taking and excessive drinking.
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However, Bakker believes that such kind of cross-addiction affects only 10 percent of gamers.

For the other 90percent who may spend four hours a day or more playing games, he no longer thinks addiction counseling 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. But the more we work with these kids these 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," BBC quoted him, as saying.

Following the realization, the clinic has changes its treatment programme for gamers to focus more on developing activity-based social and communications skills to help them rejoin society.

"This gaming problem is a result of the society we live in today. Eighty per cent of the young people we see have been bullied at school and feel isolated. Many of the symptoms they have can be solved by going back to good old fashioned communication," the expert added.

According to Bakker, parents are to be blamed for the huge growth in excessive gaming as they have failed in their duty of care.

For younger gamers, intervention may be the only way to break the cycle, the expert said.

Source: ANI
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