China: Suspension of Electroshock for “Net Addiction”

The Chinese Ministry of Health recently announced that electroshock treatment for “internet addiction” should be suspended. The controversial electroshock therapies have recently been used by some Chinese clinics to cure symptoms of “addiction” to the internet in young people. These methods, invented by Yang Yongxin have ultimately been proved unscientific and torturous. Many bloggers applaud the news.

A user on Neteasy comments:

电击治疗 可以在主观上让患者进行自我修正,但是 对于神经的伤害是不确定的,准确的说,对于不同的人,承受力相差很大,不太可能制定一个统一的安全范围。

Electroshock therapies may make the sufferer self-cured subjectively. However, the harm it has done to the nervous system is uncertain. To be more precise, the endurance depends on the sufferer himself and it's not probable for us to set up an unified criterion.

A commenter on Sina feels it is very weird for some parents to trust the words of unauthorised “experts”:


It's quite common now to spend a few hours online everyday. It's already the Internet epoch! The so-called “net addiction” must be totally a joke in the eyes of foreign Internet users. How stupid those parents are to believe the fake experts who made a lot of money from the “net addiction” business.

Fang Zhouzi, a well-known scholar and blogger, says it is against our common sense and ethic:


That China once applied the electroshock therapeutics for “net addiction” is against medical ethics. Electroshock is a disputed therapy and produces obvious side-effects though it has a history for some decades. Right now, it is merely applied to a few types of severe psychological illnesses, especially hypochondria and this has been proved by various clinic experiments. Giving the brain electronic shocks to change the cerebral function can only damage the memory and cognitive ability but the mechanism of it is still unknown.

A lawyer named Liu Xiaoyuan writes in his blog that:


Before we force our children to accept the cruel electroshock therapies, I guess the medical institutions would not tell the parents the truth about how much torture this treatment can bring to their kids, which means their right to know was neglected.


May I ask those experts who forged the term “net addiction” and intended to “cure” it: Do you see the torture and inhumanity your therapies brought to them? If  “net addiction” is factually a kind of disease, can you figure out some pharmaceutical way to cure it?


All is too atrocious! To apply the immature treatment with no validity and safety simply equals to using those kids as ‘lab rats’ in a medical laboratory.

Blogger Hu Yong thinks electroshock therapy shows lack of professional authenticity and official credibility:


If the experts are not certain about the clear definition of “net addiction” and even the international organizations are cautious to this question, how can we be so irresponsible sending our children to clinics without questioning its credibility?

A boy receiving the ‘electroshock therapeutics’ describes his feelings when he was in hospital. 


I cannot remember exactly how many electroshocks they gave me but it could be no less than several dozen. They would let me take a rest between the intervals for half an hour or so and shock me again.


I struggled to stand up, but they said that I'm not willing to stay there and thus gave me several other electric shocks in the next thirty minutes. I could not bear it so in the end I had to give in.


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