China treating Internet addiction with ECT?

23 February 2007

China is notorious the Net over for its anti-Internet political stance. Bloggers have to register, talking about democracy is a dangerous thing to do at best, and the Great Firewall of China makes a valiant attempt to filter net.traffic to keep the masses uninformed and unable to speak out. They've even managed to have Internet addiction considered a real social problem treatable with hospitalisation and electroconvulsive therapy What gets me is this: The kids that are hospitalised for this 'treatment' (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) aren't sleeping well, aren't motivated, don't like to listen to their parents, are bored in school, are often angry or depressed for no reason... sounds like a serious case of puberty to me. These are all perfectly normal and natural symptoms of the endocrine system of one's body spontaneously reworking itself during adolescence. What utter jetwash.

One thing that makes me stop and wonder about the article's veracity, however, is the photograph at the top of the first page. ECT is never done in this way - passing an electric current from side to side through the body is a great way to induce fatal cardiac arrhythmia. ECT is done by passing an electric current through the head only in an attempt to jolt the brain into operating differently. The old style of the technique uses a lateral current through the brain; more modern refinements target specific areas of the brain only, and just affect a much smaller portion of the neural network.