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Clinic in the Netherlands Addresses Teen Gaming Addictions

Teen playing video games  

The concept of video game addiction and technology addiction, in general, is one that’s becoming a growing problem throughout the world. One facility in the Netherlands is working on pioneering how video game addiction is recognized and treated. The Yes We Can youth clinics are the only addiction treatment centers for young people in Europe. It’s located in the Netherlands, and the program helps young people not just stop their video game addiction, but learn how to deal with avoidant behaviors and other issues that might contribute to gaming addiction or play a role in it.

In 2016, the Yes We Can clinic treated 30 people for gaming addiction and that went up to 90 in 2018. Some of the people receiving treatment at the Yes We Can youth clinics are sent directly from the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom. Some private clinics are available that offer treatment for gaming addictions, but they often have waiting lists in Europe.

Prevalence of Teen Gaming Addictions

Video game addiction statistics from recent years have shed some light on how prevalent this issue is. It’s not just video games, either. Other screen-based addictions such as Netflix, social media and pornography addictions are becoming increasingly common as well. Around 10 to 15% of gamers have signs that would meet the World Health Organization’s criteria for addiction.

An estimated 8.5% of children who play games in the U.S. are addicted, and that tends to hold true across the world. Nearly 1 in 10 gamers according to a Harris Poll of American young people could be pathological players, meaning gaming causes family, social, school or psychological damage. A pathological gamer on average plays around 24 hours of video games a week, which is around twice as much as gamers not considered pathological.

According to The NPD Group, 67% of Americans aged two and older play video games on at least one type of device. More than half play across multiple types of devices. Mobile devices are the most popular gaming platform, and gaming takes up around 16% of leisure time for players in the United States. The average number of minutes players between the ages of 15 and 19 spend on games is anywhere from 40 to 50 on weekdays and 80 to 90 on weekends.

What Causes Video Game Addiction in Teens?

While there is currently research being done to look at the causes of video game addiction, there are some theories as to what might cause it. Primarily, video games are specifically designed to be addictive. Video game designers are skilled at getting people to continue to play their games. The reason why video games are addicting may be similar to why gambling can be addictive. The games are designed to be challenging enough to hold someone’s interest, but not so much so that they give up.

The effects of video game addiction on the brain can be similar to other addictive substances and behaviors. It can create a reward response that makes someone feel compelled to continue playing. Someone who is addicted to video games might isolate themselves to spend more time gaming, lie about how much time they’re spending on gaming, or be preoccupied thinking about their games. These are all also general signs of other addictions. In many ways, the use of games can also be a way to escape reality, much like addictive substances.

If your teen is struggling with an addiction, contact Next Generation Village today to learn about our evidence-based youth programs.


Marsh, Sarah. “How a Dutch clinic helps UK teenagers addicted to gaming.” The Guardian, August 18, 2019. Accessed September 25, 2019.

NPD Group. “Over Half of the 211.2 Million Video Gamers in the U.S. Play Games Across Multiple Platforms, According to NPD.” September 11, 2018. Accessed September 25, 2019.

Iowa State University. “Nearly 1 in 10 Youth Gamers Addicted to Video Games.” Science Daily, April 21, 2009. Accessed September 25, 2019.

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