Teenager vows to sue addiction center for trauma

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/27 21:28:39

A 19-year-old man said he plans to sue a controversial Internet addiction treatment center in East China's Shandong Province for a wrong diagnosis, which has caused him great psychological trauma.

Zhou Shu (pseudonym), a former "patient" of the center in Linyi, Shandong told the Global Times on Tuesday that he has been looking for other "victims" to file the lawsuit against the center and Yang Yongxin, the center's dean.

Zhou stayed in this center for 295 days since December 2013, and the main treatment method is electroconvulsive therapy, which means it stimulates acupoints with electricity, according to Zhou, adding it was extremely painful.

The center is notorious for its abuse of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is a legitimate medical technique for severe depression, but it has no role in addiction therapy. Despite this, the center has used it to "treat" more than 6,000 Internet addicts, mostly teenagers, since 2006, China Youth Daily reported in August.

Zhou also said that he received treatment together with about 100 others, and each was charged 8,000 yuan ($1,151) per month.

The people sent to the center are not only Internet addicts but  also troubled teenagers and adulterers, said a 20-year-old "patient," identified as Edison.

Edison stayed in the center for 94 days since August 2014. He said the center did not test if these "patients" really are addicted to the Internet, "but only checked if they are physically fit for electroshock treatment."

 Yang and the center were praised in a documentary by China Central Television while criticized by others, and the Chinese Ministry of Health banned Yang's treatment in 2009, stating that it "has no foundation in clinical research," the Beijing News reported in August.

The hospital returned to the spotlight after Beijing News reported in August that it was using a therapeutic method invented by Yang known as "low-frequency pulse therapy." The new therapy is similar to ECT, though some former patients claim that it is even more painful, said People's Daily.

However, despite public skepticism, the center has been receiving "patients" as of Tuesday, said Edison.

 The center and Yang could not be reached by the Global Times for comment as of press time.

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