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China Bans Shock Treatment For Internet Addiction 113

angry tapir writes "China has banned the use of shock therapy to treat Internet addiction after its use at one hospital sparked nationwide controversy. The hospital drew wide media coverage in recent months after Internet users claiming to have received the treatment wrote in blogs and forums about being tied down and subjected to shocks for 30 minutes at a time."


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China Bans Shock Treatment For Internet Addiction

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  • by maeka ( 518272 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:30PM (#28704645) Journal

    Does China even have such a thing as "nationwide controvery"? Or is the "nation" here the United States? Or maybe Canada?

    I'll chalk this one up to western ignorance over how much the Chinese public actually knows, not blatant bias. []

  • Quacks (Score:4, Informative)

    by Demonantis ( 1340557 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:36PM (#28704691)
    That is not shock treatment. The currently accepted method of shock therapy is designed to treat epilepsy. They were using it for negative reinforcement. Its just as effective as torturing someone. This is definitely a human rights violation and the genius behind this should be punished.
  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:49PM (#28704851)

    First and foremost, there's two kinds of electro-shock therapy. One is simple aversion therapy, putting the person in front of the computer and when they try to open the browser a painful shock is given. That doesn't sound like what they are trying to accomplish here so I'll assume that it is the second kind, the kind which actually tries to change the way a person thinks and feels about memories.

    Done correctly there's nothing inherently wrong with that kind of shock therapy, it's even made something of a minor resurgance in the US for treating PTSD and depression. The idea is that you shock the brain while it is remembering the dramatic memory, cuasing the brain to either fail to store the memory or to store the memory without the emotional content.

    And the crazy thing is that it actually works pretty much as advertised. The problem is that there is no garauntee that the patient is thinking 100% about what you told them to think about; people's minds wander and if the person just happens to be thinking about something important to them, significant damage can be done to the persons memory. Obviously, the people being treated were not giving their informed consent for those procedures, nor does it seem to me that 30 minutes at a time (if accurate) is the correct way to administer the treatment.

  • Re:Quacks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hyppy ( 74366 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @12:56PM (#28704937)
    According to Wikipedia [], it is also used for various psychological disorders, including depression and schizophrenia.
  • by damontal ( 806788 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:00PM (#28705019)
    I just watched it again and they're both getting the answers wrong. only the girl isn't being shocked, whereas the guy is. the only one he gets correct is the last one (a couple of squiggly lines) before freaking out and leaving.
  • by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:09PM (#28705169) Homepage

    The most prevalent "shock therapy" currently in use in the US is electro-convulsive therapy (ECT). It is used to treat major depression that is not responsive to drugs. It has nothing to do with retrieving or "erasing" memories, only with zapping the brain in hopes that neurochemical imbalances will be alleviated during its recovery from the trauma (shock), and hopefully for some time after.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @01:28PM (#28705491)

    >>The idea is that you shock the brain while it is remembering the dramatic memory, cuasing the brain to either fail to store the >>memory or to store the memory without the emotional content.

    What a load of crap. This is not how it's done. ECT (electro-convulsive therapy) is done while the patient is asleep. Nothing to do with shocking the brain during specific memories.

    As an aside, amnesia is a common side effect of ECT. I should know, I've lost 9 months of memories from a few years back due to ECT. I do not recommend ECT to those who are suffering from depression as benefits seem to be short term and amnesia long term. At least they were in my case. A few good books by Pema Chodron were much more effective.

  • by Psyborgue ( 699890 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @02:01PM (#28705995) Homepage Journal
    This isn't ECT. This appears to be aversion therapy. Just because it's done wrong and the shocking last long doesn't make it any different. The same has happened at Judge Rotenberg Center [] in the United States where a slightly more brutal form is used (kids permanently strapped to devices triggered by remote control).
  • by EricTheMad ( 603880 ) on Wednesday July 15, 2009 @02:27PM (#28706287)
    The biggest problem here is that it was used as a form of punishment. It was basically torture, not therapy. []

    According to the Guangdong-based Information Times, shocks were given if patients broke any of the center's 86 rules, which included prohibitions on eating chocolate, locking the bathroom door, taking pills before a meal, and sitting in Dr. Yang's chair without permission.

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