Abu Dhabi: An outpatient clinic dedicated to the treatment of electronic gaming addicts will open its doors next year in Abu Dhabi.
The National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC), the UAE's leading rehabilitation body, will open the outpatient clinic at its premises in Abu Dhabi to serve both Emiratis and expatriates in the country.
NRC director-general Dr Hamad Al Ghaferi said that that all patients who are addicted to any behaviour are welcome to seek assistance.
“Gaming addiction is mainly a behavioural issue and we are building the capacity and training our workforce to deal with any sort of addictive behaviours," he said.
The Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO) has added gaming addiction to the list of International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
The WHO's 11th ICD revision which was issued in mid-2018 defined the gaming disorder as “a pattern of gaming behaviour ("digital-gaming" or "video-gaming") characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities”.
According to the NRC, video games, and in particular mobile gaming, remains extremely popular in the UAE.
The UAE is consistently ranked amongst the world’s top 100 gaming markets based on revenue source, with more than 80 per cent of smartphone users in the UAE identifying themselves as 'mobile gamers,’ said a study by the gaming analytics firm Newzoo in 2019.
The NRC has been offering treatment for alcoholism, substance abuse and other behavioural addictions since 2002, according to WAM.