Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thoughts on Britain's first computer rehab clinic

So The Telegraph is reporting on Great Britain's first computer rehab clinic. While I think the idea of helping people fight their addictions is great, I can't help but question some of the news reporting being done in this story, and I also can't help but question the validity of a 12-step program for people addicted to video games.

I know, I know... I must be one of those white knights for the video game industry, writing letters to my congressman and generally swooping in to defend video games at every chance. Honestly, I don't question the fact that people can get a little too into their games, especially having known some of the people I've met over the years and their habits involving World of Warcraft and the like.
Suffers spend days at a time glued to their computer screens - going without food, sleep, or any social interaction.
The wave of addiction is apparently triggered by more sophisticated online games where players have to invest significant amounts of time to progress.
Broadway Lodge, a residential rehabilitation unit in Weston-super-Mare, treats around 400 addicts a year for a range of issues including, drink, drugs and gambling.
Now it has adapted its traditional Minnesota Method Twelve-Step programme, which slowly weans addicts off a particular vice, for gamers.
Patients undertake group therapy, tapes, videos, therapeutic tasks including vacuuming and washing up, and recreational activities.
The emphasis is on communication with peers and a greater understanding of themselves through shared experiences.
Games certainly have the ability to drag me away from some things, including food. For some reason, when I'm playing a video game, I'll tend to forget about eating regular meals. It won't last long, but after eating I'll want to get back to the game. I think that therapy and talking things out is certainly the best way to go about helping gamers understand what's healthy about gaming and what isn't.

While a gaming addiction center is a long ways off for plenty of gamers, it might be the healthiest thing for others, but I'm talking around what I'm really thinking about: shouldn't parents do something about their children a little earlier on? Parents should take the responsibility on themselves to keep their children well rounded and understand just when enough is enough. Maybe I'm wrong, but I felt like after so long, as a child, I was always instructed to put the game down, go outside, and just do something else altogether.

These days, I have a very tempered amount of time with video games. Other responsibilities will arise, other things will take my attention away. Of course, when I have a new video game I'm eager to play for a longer period of time, but on a day to day basis, I think my gaming "hunger" is usually worn out around the third hour or so. Maybe a game has a particularly engrossing story line and I'll be motivated to play longer, but these days my attention goes back to other things in life.

Like many addictions, I think gaming addiction can be helped more as a child is young than when someone has reached a point in their lives where they're being called an "addict."


  1. "I think my gaming "hunger" is usually worn out around the third hour or so"

    That doesn't mean you've worked on your addiction. This is only because video games these days are just not as good and tend to last 6 hours max....

  2. Broadway Lodge: unethical and fraudalent business whose fake 'treatment' for a non-existent disease is emotionally and psychologically abusive. I find it immensely difficult to understand how those employed by BL who are apparently members of what are considered the 'caring professions' - nurses, counsellors - can look at themselves in the mirror each night and feel good about what they are a part of.