Media contact: Dr. Hilarie Cash, Chief Clinical Officer (800) 682-6934 x 6

June 12, 2019

After 10 years, reSTART, a residential treatment facility for gaming addiction, is vindicated by the World Health Organization

This month reSTART celebrates its ten-year anniversary, just as the World Health Organization confirms that it will include Gaming Disorder in its official classification of diseases (ICD 11). Ironically, this is occurring just as the video game industry’s annual tradeshow E3 finishes in LA, which highlighted the industry’s gargantuan size (164 million adult gamers and $43 billion in industry revenues in the US alone in 2018).

Obviously, the industry would prefer that you not pay attention to the WHO or to this press release, both of which reveal a shadow side of this impressive industry.

reSTART, located near Seattle WA, is the first dedicated residential facility for Internet addiction and gaming disorder treatment in the US, opening its doors to young adults in 2009. Over the years and responding to tremendous demand, reSTART has expanded its services to include video game addiction treatment for adolescents, a transition program for young adults, and a full range of outpatient services. It now has 4 campuses and 5 program areas and does not expect the need for services to diminish.

For years people scoffed at the idea that playing video games could be addictive, despite evidence to the contrary. After all, most young people and adults play video games casually, and it doesn’t seem to be a problem for them. But for some gamers (research results range from 2% – 13% of the general population) this passion can end up destroying their mental and physical health, their relationships, and their ability to function at work or in school. These are the individuals and families that seek help from reSTART for screen addiction.

Some hard-core gamers and the gaming industry overall are not happy with the new ICD designation of Gaming Disorder. In fact, the Entertainment Software Association (the video game’s trade association and lobbying arm) recently petitioned the WHO to reverse course on this classification, citing adequate parental controls and insufficient evidence of video game addiction. If they accept that their industry is creating addictive content and that many who use their products are getting dangerously screen addicted, then what are the implications? Regulation? Despite the video gaming industry’s insistence that their products are not addictive, reSTART’s mission remains the same: to restore health and balance to those whose video game addiction is destroying their lives.


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