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Online addictions to be combated as NHS trial new Fulham centre

A new centre has been set up in Fulham to help people battle online addictions after it has been identified as a growing concern for the population

Around 38 million people accessed the internet every day in the UK in 2014, according to an ONS study

A new centre in Fulham has opened to help people fight their online addictions as part of an NHS pilot project to test its effectiveness.

The Centre for Compulsive and Addictive Behaviour has been set up to help patients addicted to playing games, shopping online, gambling or excessively watching porn.

The NHS treatment is the first measure taken against online addictions and one which experts insist is crucial in saving money in the long run.

Author and psychotherapist Lucy Beresford said: "Compulsive gaming, watching porn and shopping can be akin to drinking, drug-taking or gambling.

"I would have no issue with NHS funds being used to help people with these kinds of addictions."

The treatment has been met with criticism from campaign group Patient Concern though, who believe money could be spent on other sectors within the NHS rather than the behavioural centre.

Co-director of the group Roger Goss said: “The onus is on the NHS to make sure they are treating people where they think the risks are very serious and not to waste their money on this."

GPs from across England and Wales have referred patients for the treatment who show signs of addiction, including losing track of time, social isolation and experiencing a temporary high.

With 100 patients at the Fulham centre, there are nine others on the waiting list.

A Central and North West London (CNWL) NHS Trust spokesman said: “CNWL ran an unfunded time-limited project to deal with people struggling with these difficulties.

“It was our endeavour to build a research base around the condition and the effectiveness of the treatment."

An ONS survey showed that 38m adults in the UK accessed the internet every day in 2014.
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