Rehab madness: Treatment for tech addicts launched

Maya Driver

These days it seems everyone is addicted to something and, with gadgets now firmly entwined within almost every aspect of our lives, it was never going to be long before our love of technology got the better of us. And if doctors are to be believed, technology addiction has become a serious problem amongst the nation's already issue-laden youngsters.

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A new treatment centre has now been launched offering bespoke treatment for those diagnosed with tech addiction. It seems it's not just laziness that keeps our kids glued to the screen. In fact, young people who spend hours on end either online or on video games may become "chronically agitated and irritable" if deprived of their gadgets, says Dr Richard Graham.

As the treatment's founder, Dr Graham has devised an intense 28 day programme to wean youngsters off World of Warcraft and the like, following concern over the "compulsive and addictive quality" of video gaming. It might sound over the top but when you bear in mind that one South Korean couple left their baby to starve while they buried themselves in role-playing game Prius Online, it starts to make sense.

He told the BBC: "The preoccupation with accessing sites and responding to messages is so compelling that it gets prioritised... it can impact on other areas of life and skew young people's ability to engage in other activities."

Dr Graham's programme encourages patients to discuss their issues with face-to-face relationships, switch off their machines and engage in physical and family activities but is currently only available to private patients.

However, if this kind of "desperate and extreme" behaviour becomes more prevalent will it soon be offered on the NHS, or is it a case of rehab gone mad?