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Game Addiction Clinic Opens in Britain

Are video games addicting? To some degree, yes. There's nothing better--save for an adventurous night WooHoo-ing--than a game that keeps you hooked, keeps you on your toes, and leaves you hanging, wanting more. It's like a good movie, or a good book. But are those addictions worthy of long-time therapy and rehabilitation clinics? That's a debate best left on the forums.

Apparently, there seems to be some need for videogame rehabilitation, as a clinic has recently opened in Britain's Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. The Telegraph reports that MMORPGs such as World of Warcraft and Age of Conan have triggered the need for rehabilitation clinics, igniting a heated wave of addiction in both children and adults.

The clinic already treats around 400 addicts a year, addressing gambling, drugs, alcohol, and other addictive situations. The facility adapted its current program to work with gaming addicts, and recently treated one 23-year-old after his parents brought him to the clinic. ''We developed a treatment for him which followed the 12-step (abstinence) approach, but you can't tell someone never to use the internet again," said Brian Dudley, the center's chief executive.

Peter Smith, a councilor at the clinic, said that it's not unusual for people to get obsessed with online gaming. However, the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association denies that online games are addicting, or could lead to addiction. Gaming has become "mainstream" and has positive impact, it said.