Dutch clinic treating gaming addicts

Dutch clinic treating gaming addicts

16th September 2019 1 By Jordan Heal

Gaming can become a form of addiction like any other activity or substance which can be abused, and while treatment is scarce in the UK a clinic in the Netherlands is opening its doors to offer help.

One case was highlighted by UK newspaper The Guardian after speaking with ‘Tom’ who found himself staying up late into the night playing video games and not caring about his upcoming exams.

His need to play rather than study became so concerning that he took the decision to seek help. However, he quickly found the resources to assist him were painfully scarce in the UK.

The NHS does not have facilities to aid people with such a specific addiction, despite the World Health Organisation having defined it as a condition in the 11th edition of International Classification of Diseases.

The Dutch ‘Yes We Can’ clinic helps people with that struggle. It is located in Hilvarenbeek – a small town roughly 90 minutes from Amsterdam.

It is also the only clinic in Europe to focus on addiction treatment for young people. The treatment involves one-on-one therapy sessions, outdoor activities and challenges.

In 2016 it treated 30 people and, by 2018, the swelling ranks had grown to 90. This year alone some 55 young people have sought help at Yes We Can.

It charges up to £55,000 for the residential 10-week programme, with an optional four-week aftercare programme for £14,000. Dutch residents, however, do not get charged for treatment since it is mandatory to have health insurance in the Netherlands.

Patients at the clinic are forbidden from having mobile phones, laptops or iPods on them. Nicotine is the only substance allowed in the clinic with coffee and fizzy drinks also being banned.

Although an expensive treatment, 17-year-old Tom explained he was grateful for the experience.

“Support in Britain is not great,” he said.

“I don’t know any rehabs specifically for people my age. I have learned to create my own support, and it is a shame because obviously centres like this are expensive, so most people cannot get into them.”

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