Game-addict clinic opening in Amsterdam

Netherlands-based addiction consultancy opening eight-bed ward for teens unable to control their gaming habits.

Whenever a major title like Halo 2 or Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter comes out, workplace productivity finds itself ravaged by the so-called "gaming flu." Expansive games with dozens of hours of content, such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, often provoke compulsive seclusion among those trying to finish them. Then there's massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft that never end, prompting players to indulge in near-daily fixes.

This is your brain...

While most gamers can handle their habit, apparently some can't. That's where Smith & Jones Addiction Consultancy comes in. The Amsterdam-based center, which specializes in drug and gambling addictions, is opening up a new ward dedicated solely to the treatment of gamers who simply can't stop playing.

"There were 15-year-olds being brought to us who were showing the same behavior as 50-year-old gambling addicts," Keith Bakker, director of the consultancy, told the BBC. Bakker said the majority of game addicts fit the same profile--socially isolated adolescent males who "want to escape reality."

"We knew about drugs like crack, but we couldn't find a program anywhere for kids like this, and we saw enormous parallels between problems with gaming and alcohol and gambling," said Bakker. Though the clinic already treats game addicts on an outpatient basis, the new Smith & Jones program will consist of an in-patient stay of four to eight weeks to help patients cope with game withdrawal. "There can be anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, dreaming about games, nightmares, shaking," said Bakker.

As for the issue of problem gamers relapsing, Bakker said that remains a difficult problem to prevent. "You can't do a urine test to see that they're not still gaming," he said. "If a coke addict said they wanted to go out to a club or to see people, we'd be worried about whether they'd meet a dealer. But if a gamer said he wanted to go out for the night and meet people we'd throw a party."

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276 comments
BoManAD
BoManAD

screw whoever thought this idea was stupid these guys are smart and know what there talking about cuz i do in fact have a problem with video games and i only use weed to play them i have no job no girlfriend and dropped out of school cuz of video games i blamed it on weed but if i think back i wasnt addicted to weed till i started playing video games to make it better my parents arent really that strict so that just makes everything easier to do yeah they'll yell at me here and there and i'll feel bad but i'll just go back to my little room with my computer and everything will be fine again so yeah first online game i ever played and i was hooked and now im addicted with the support of weed so if u do sports theres no need to smoke so quit the games if u have a drug problem to quit the dug problem

Brainy142
Brainy142

uh... right... the worlsd going to "explode" if people play games... wow that is the lamest thing i've ever heard

tondi
tondi

Great... I live in holland

solsticeblue
solsticeblue

hello... my name is solsticeblue and im a boyfriend. it's been six months since my last decision. i had the urge to have an opinion the other day, but thank god my sponser came in and we sat down till that feeling went away.... wait, what? Gamer's Anonymous? not Boyfriends Anonymous?... hmmm... im lost then.

BallGame
BallGame

Go to amsterdam and cure your game addiction with a hash addiction.

drlongjon32
drlongjon32

A Game Rehab in of all places AMSTERDAM.... Let me tell you, I just came back a week ago from Amsterdam and video game addiction is not what they should be worried about.

ChitoKiryoku
ChitoKiryoku

distroyer341, sorry to press this but I really hate it when people underestimate the problems other people can have. There are game addicts who spend well over $10.000 on games, I even know one (he's got two units of almost every system there's ever been, with tons of games, and he's even planning on buying two PS3's, without selling one) There are also game addicts who while driving can't stop thinking about games, or even play games while driving, and that really does impare your driving. Games can play with your perception of reality, and really can get you to care less about other people's feelings, and punch people because it's fun (you can punch people in games for fun...) You're right you won't get cancer from games though. (not saying this happens to ALL gamers, but there are people like this out there)

expanded
expanded

Hi i'm expanded . i don't know why i'm here but i'm not an addict i can stop anytime i want.. but hey i can almost buy a psp :o i'm willing to do anything , anything if your willing to donate for a good cause :oops:

Zombie-hulk
Zombie-hulk

I'm having an addiction problem with Burnout Revenge...but I'm not an addict...yet

greedygoblin
greedygoblin

about 99.5% of the people that go there are probably World Of Warcraft Addicts. lol.

distroyer341
distroyer341

Do i ever lose 10000$ on games Do i get impared while driving or punch people becuase of games Do i get cancer from games? the answer is no

Bluestorm-Kalas
Bluestorm-Kalas

"There can be anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, dreaming about games, nightmares, shaking," said Bakker. This line made me laugh...if you're that into games, you need to get laid, hardcore, like harcore hardcore....I'll admit I do get my fair share of gaming done, even more than I should, but I can quit anytime.

ChitoKiryoku
ChitoKiryoku

Why am I not surprised this clinic is in the very country I live in? (it's a joke, I don't need help, lol) Anyway, it's true some people really are addicted to video games and need help. And when I say addicted, I mean you get physical and/or psychological problems when you don't get a 'fix' for too long. The truth is, there really are alot of people (especially younger ones, but adults too) that are really addicted like that to video games. Especially over here in the Netherlands :P

nytrospawn
nytrospawn

Haha, next thing youll know, theyll open up clinics for people with gambling addiction! Come on!

Socom_sniper
Socom_sniper

I wonder how the 10 step program is. lol

emeritus
emeritus

"There can be anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, dreaming about games, nightmares, shaking," said Bakker. I get like that about work..

Winchester14
Winchester14

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

SSJ3Kirby500
SSJ3Kirby500

I really don't mind game addicts, as long as they're not 12 years old...you guys know what I'm talking about...

acidfiend
acidfiend

video games are my new crystal meth. but now i cant stop snorting k and playing video games. they go so well togther.

END3R330
END3R330

the only way you can really be addicted is if you use drugs with the games, so you depend on the games for a high or escape from reality. playing all day for fun does no harm. doing so to escape from reality and to get high to some extent is where the problem is. a lot of people have been saying "yeah i have friends and i go out but i do play lots of videogames", and thats fine. even if you play videogames all the time, you can stop anytime as long as you dont play for the reasons above. thats my view.

DieHardTWB
DieHardTWB

Since I'm majoring in Psychology, perhaps I can get in on the game consuling. :)

link2398
link2398

"cikame "There can be anxiety, panic attacks, sleep problems, dreaming about games, nightmares, shaking," probably because they are being kept in a ward for 4-8 weeks being treated like mental patients...this is no cure." treating video games like drugs is not a good idea, (niether is treating gamers like convicts,) it would only make things worse (espically for the gamers doing the rehab, of course they have those effects on them, they are being treated like games are gonna kill them, how would you feel if you were locked up in a room for 4 weeks for watching TV?). I mean, yea I play video games a lot, but when school was going on I could only play on weekends, and I used to be addicted to video games, but going a week without didn't kill me, heck, back then I could go a month without video games and still be fine, I think there are more serious problems that could be adressed other than game addicts.

Kbs64
Kbs64

This is the Funniest thing I have ever heard. And the must amusing to boot. At least we know that people that go to this "ARE NOT in a relationship"

DaMooseOfDaApoc
DaMooseOfDaApoc

What America needs isnt a Video game rehab..But a Fat-Ass rehab. I mean, have you SEEN the SIZE of those people?

Hybridzen
Hybridzen

I find the idea both hilarious and a little sad. I can believe that people can become addicted to anything...it's just the nature of things for some people. But I also see it as a term that is used WAY to much to describe somebody that is no more than an enthusiast for a hobby that they love. I know of people that see one person playing baseball for x hours a day and another playing games for that same amount of time. They say nothing of the sports person, but label the gamer an addict (yes I'm sure the sports are healthier, but that's something else). People just get a bad idea about it then stick with that as a broad range view. I'm an AVID game collector..I've been this way since 3rd grade when I got my NES. Last time I counted I had just shy of 400 different games in my house, including a couple of arcade games (1986 Double Dragon FTW!) I get called an addict by most of the people I know. They think this is all that I do. Nobody notices that I am also an avid diver, hiker, and love camping. I get out and spend time with my family and even am involved in my sons T-Ball team. So I can see a clinic being made, but not to such an extent where an avid player is labeled as the same thing as a crack user...as an addict.

hippobutt
hippobutt

wow... that's just sad. i mean... at least TRY to make friends!

marahxiboh
marahxiboh

This is too sweet...what better place to get your mind off a video game addiction than a place where you can get any drug you want! it would be awesome if they outlawed video games there because of their addictive nature.

TBOK
TBOK

Nice... I'll visit it sometime, it isn't that far for here. But.. I never heard anybody here complain about game addiction... Ah well, that you'll always see here in Holland. First make things (like a clinic) to make things better, then see if it works, and if it does, continue your life. If it doesn't... well, think of something other.

thekey
thekey

What good is an addiction clinic going to do? Once Halo 3, Gears of war, Lost planet release I'm just going to relapse, so whats the point?

Redhawksrymmer
Redhawksrymmer

Heh, I thought things like this already existed..

fkholmes
fkholmes

I certainly do not have a gaming addiction I have around 23 friends and I usually only play games 1nce every two days and on some weekends I think this pretty much a waste of time!!!

stziggy
stziggy

Drug addiction, alcoholism, eating disorder, gambling addiction, or gaming addiction.........some how chronic gaming doesn't seem so bad to me out of those choices.

jop360
jop360

HAHAHAHAHA rotglmfao!!! OMG THIS IZ FUNNY

wasup109
wasup109

Lol i used to be addicted to runescape, oblivion, silk road, halo 2, kuma war, counter strike. rogue spear, and WoW! Now i am over it. Good luck to those addcits out there.But messed up having to be locked up!? I mean i got loads of friends go on vacations. Play football and camp, bike, hike, fish, play soccer, play baseball, and play with pets. Hang out with friends. WTF????!!! A mentalgamingrehabclininc? OMFG?!?!!?!?

gamerzmind2k3
gamerzmind2k3

Taking the initiative and setting up a game addict clinic? Ok...I don't really care much since I don't *consider* myself addicted (not extreme at least) but fact is people, these things do happen. Like it or not not everyone is as "in control" of their physiological states as you are. Addiction is not a purely 'mental' thing (as quite a few are making it out to be), and anyone who's taken a course in psychology should know this. It can be due to genetic predisposition as much as it is due to environmental factors, most often something beyond one's control. Not everything is controlled by a person's will, and heck, just cause it doesn't happen to you doesn't mean it can't happen to some other person. Not everyone is 'you'. So people, please, don't just immediately go into denial. This problem is as widespread as 'addiction' to things like smoking and gambling. Perhaps not as large in proportion but a good many do have problems. Just cause you don't go killing people over online items doesn't mean you don't have initial symptoms of addiction. I don't mean to sound conceited (hopefully I haven't) but even the small things people deny can be signs of addiction. Doesn't *have* to be social withdrawal or escaping reality even (which kinda makes the clinic short-sighted ^,^), but can be a great many things. Addiction is no simple matter so don't make it to be a simple matter of just "getting over it" or getting a girlfriend. Now why I actually take the time to type up such a large post is beyond me....

snaretrap745
snaretrap745

HAHAHAHAHAHA game addicts..... what will these crazy europeans come up with next..

pwnr
pwnr

This really is unnecessary. Who would do that? Just make the parent take away computer/console. And they're making taxpayers pay?

MasterManiac772
MasterManiac772

Wow - just a bunch of idiot losers with no real jobs (doctors, lawyers, etc.) looking for some good way to make money. Good on 'em.

Paceydre
Paceydre

I'm an addict and I live in The Netherlands....too bad I HATE Amsterdam! To be honoust....i see people who *f-word* up their lives and play games all day long...they got no job, no girl, no money.... For them this could be a great thing....only 1 train ride away from home :p

Neo1O1
Neo1O1

This is downright laughable.

mute4
mute4

Yeah I'm probably an addict too..

TaklinLutgher
TaklinLutgher

if you get addicted to games then u really need a life ive played games since i was 4 and thus far have never come a cross a game that was addictive. if i remember correctly someone had said diablo II and Final Fantasy Tactics were suppose to be addictive. sorry but they were very much mistaken. though those 2 are my favorites i can't say they are addictive, they get monotonous after a while.

F_equals_ma
F_equals_ma

"They say they can cure us, but I say we are the cure!!!!" ... lol, J/K. People can get addicted to all kinds of stuff nowadays... I think this clinic is a good idea...

CaptHawkeye
CaptHawkeye

And just like every other kind of rehab on this planet. It will temporarily slow down the addiction. As soon as the gamer steps out of rehab, the first thing he will do is run to his local EB and see what he can get. Or, Marge Simpson put it perfectly "all of the smokers have become alcoholics and all of alcoholics have become smokers!"