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Recently couple internet posts put “National Expert of Quitting Internet” YANG Yongxin’s （杨永信） internet addiction treatment model into the spotlight. Currently there are over 100 children remain in Linyi City‘s fourth people’s Hospital in Shandong Province under this treatment, not allowed to leave. China Youth Daily reporter verifies the qualifications of physicians from other areas of mental health practitioners found that the treatment is using electric shocks to “punish” the person who has “internet addiction”, this stimulation known as aversion therapy.
YANG Yongxin connects electrical stimulation to children‘s (who are addicted to internet) fingers or temple. Using electrical stimulation to the brain as the way of treatment has been highly controversial. Currently there are over 100 children still remain in the hospital under this treatment. According to YANG nearly 3000 children treated their “internet addictions” here.
On April 27, China Youth Daily reporter visited the center and interviewed YANG Yongxin. He confirmed that children subjected to electric shocks, and psychotropic drugs, most were put under treatment here forcibly.
In this regard, the most parents of “Internet Addicted Child” agree with this treatment, and some experts believe that it is questionable.
The quality of electric shock therapy
YANG Yongxin told to the China Youth Daily reporter that his original "wakeup brain therapy" is 1 ~ 5 mA of current through the brain, such stimulation did cause pain, but very safe and will not cause any harm to the child.
Some parents told reporters that the children sent on the first day of treatment received "Xingnaojing therapy." In an interview with an official also said that parents had described to him the process of electric shocks.
China Youth Daily reporter verifies the qualifications of physicians from other areas of mental health practitioners found that the treatment is using electric shocks to “punish” the person with internet addiction, this stimulation known as aversion therapy (aversion therapy).
Shanghai Mental Health Center, a Dr. LU pointed out that the aversion therapy is to stimulate the adoption of punitive to the elimination of maladaptive behavior is behavior psychotherapy treatment. When the patient acts a bad behavior, he was immediately given a certain degree of excitement, so that patient has a painful aversion response, such as electrical stimulation, emetic drugs. To form the conditioned reflex response between the bad behavior and aversion so that ultimately patients abandon their original bad behavior.
Electrical stimulation of aversion therapy is to be used to form conditioned reflex between the bad behaviors and electrical stimulation. Once the bad behavior is acted electrical stimulation is given, so that patients experience aversion. It can be used for the treatment of alcohol dependence, and sexual abnormal behaviors.
"This technique should be strictly used only to appropriate conditions, it is necessary to use it under absolute control. However to help minors with psychological issues and problems is best to use correct guidance, advice or assistance." Dr. LU said, "As far as I know, in Shanghai, it is necessary for doctors to have psychotherapists’ licenses to practice this kind of treatment ".
Similarly, A doctor from the Mental Health Association in Beijing who wishes to be anonymous, also confirmed that "in Beijing, to conduct this kind of treatment not only requires having a mental health practitioner’s license, but also requires training of psychological counseling and treatment." Although, medical and mental health differ they have the same medical coding and billing systems.
It is understood that Beijing, Shanghai and other places have been introduced local management of mental health legislation to further regulate the area of local health care workers, mental health rights and obligations. Shandong Province has not yet been promulgated to such relevant regulations.
YANG told the China Youth Daily reporter that he had not heard of "psychological therapists" exam. In his “Quitting Internet Center”, himself and the other physicians do not have the certification of psychotherapist.
Do patients agree to the treatment?
How long does it take to determinate whether a person seeks for treatment should undergo aversion therapy?
“This should be depending on the patient’s case, the psychoanalysis usually take several years.” Director of Beijing Alcohol dependence Huilongguan Hospital SUN Hong-Qiang (孙洪强) views that, regardless of how long a treatment seeker’s diagnosis, we must follow the strict norms of the clinic, "first collect the history of patients and their families, and then do the medical examination, specialist inspection and examination. Medical history and examination combined with diagnostic results are used to determine a treatment plan and treatment program. Then I tell the patients or their guardians for their agreements."
SUN Hong-keung said that when a patient cannot or incapacitated to make the judgment call on the treatment then should we inform the family for consent to treatment.
Parents have told reporters that most kids do not want to come, and ultimately can only be forced to or swindled.
YANG told the reporter that the use of electric shocks is rare in the center. Each person only receives once or twice.
China Youth University for Political Sciences Faculty of Law Teacher WANG Xing (王新)believes that that urgent issue internet addiction treatment needs to address is the “bottom line of legal” issue. Those child who were detained under the title of “internet addiction”, how do we protect their basic civil rights? How do we protect their right to life and health? Who can guarantee that electric shock will not cause secondary damage to the children?”
Wang said that to use techniques intended as treatments for various mental disorders on these so-called "internet addiction teenagers" may have caused yet another physical and psychological harm to them. "Under the circumstances that the country has not yet well-define “internet addiction”, the use of this “boot camp” like closed-end approach to treat these children limits their personal freedom is questionable."
Can Internet addiction be cured by drugs?
Wang also questions "Internet addiction" to be treated with drugs. He considered that the so-called "Internet addiction" is different than smoking, alcohol. The biggest difference is that it is "non-addictive substance dependence disorder."
"Smoking and alcoholism have are depended on substances – tobacco and alcohol, but with internet addiction cannot say that people are depended on networks or computers. They are depended on the behaviors online." Wang said, "As far as I know use drug treatment for ‘non-substance dependence addiction disease ‘ has not yielded satisfactory results."
In the “quitting internet center”, reporters saw three times a day there will be broadcasts to remind children to take medicine, including medications like “Yishu”,” Leyou”, anxiety, depression drugs. However, some children and parents are not very clear on this, they only know these drugs are for “brain neutrinos”.
In this regard, SUN Hong-Qiang (孙洪强) who has long been engaged in the alcohol dependence work has a different view. He told the China Youth Daily reporter, sometimes accompanied by disease-dependent anxiety, depression and other emotional disorders. "If with the diagnosis of professional physicians patients can use these drugs to treat a variety of emotional disorders.”
Are there adverse consequences if a normal person uses the above-mentioned anti-anxiety and antidepressant drug?
In this regard, SUN Hong-Qiang stressed that drugs have been in pre-market animal experiments and human trials. In four of the major tests, the first is human trials carried out on healthy volunteers. “Only if drug has no issues with human health safety and tolerance then it will go on for more tests and finally can enter the market.” SUN Hong-Qiang said.
Can Internet addiction be treated in the Hospital?
SUN Hong-Qiang said a medical practitioner must diagnose treatment seeker with the premise of a variety of indications before prescribing, or they are not be admitted to the hospital.
Public medical scholars, China University of Political Science, Professor ZHUO Xiaoqin (卓小勤) thinks that all of diseases have to go through the standard classification of diseases. They will need to be able to make a diagnosed for. Only someone with a diagnosis can be admitted to hospital.
ZHUO Xiaoqin pointed out that at present there is no medical standards say that Internet addiction is a mental illness. Therefore it cannot even be diagnosed for. Admitting people with internet addiction into the mental health center and treat them like people with mental illness is not reasonable.
April 28, the reporter asked YANG Yongxing whether he learned his method of electric shock therapy through explore and experiment. YANG Yongxing said that he was the director of mental health practitioners. His patients previously had about 20 milliamperes of electric shock therapy. He even has the right to give patients up to 90 milliamperes of electric shock therapy. Therefore, in the first few Internet addiction children, respectivelyYANG gave electric current of 20 milliamperes, gradually weakened, through experiments and explore, now"1 ~ 5 mA," is considered to be the "safe value."
ZHUO Xiaoqin said that the mental health of general practitioners do have the right to do electric shock to patients, but the problem lies in the fact that these people have indications. If there are no uniform standards for medical treatment, there is no indication, even if they can conduct scientific research in this area, would have to go through examination and approval, especially when involving people.
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