Ok, that title is a bit off. What it should say is that most videogame addicts aren't actually addicted to games.
That was the finding of Keith Bakker, founder and head of The Smith & Jones Centre in Amsterdam. This clinic, opened in 2006, was the first and only clinic of its kind to treat gaming addicts.
Many will remember when this clinic was first opened. It was reported that there was a flood of inquiries from concerned parents and young adults just coming to grips with the then exploding genre of games: massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
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."
So not only are there fewer gamers actually addicted to games, it just seems that these patients need some social adjustment. Maybe getting outside for a bit and interacting with people their own age or of similar interests.
"This gaming problem is a result of the society we live in today," Mr Bakker told BBC News. "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."
By offering compulsive gamers a place where they feel accepted and where their voice will be heard, the clinic has found that the vast majority have been able to leave gaming behind and rebuild their lives.
Source: BBC News
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