Internet Addicts, Get Help!

(La Rouche PAC) One Thomas Hintz, psychologist at the Mannheim Central Institute for Mental health, in an interview with netzeitung.de today (November 19th) warns of internet addiction among youths and adult singles, as a consequence of fear of social contacts, lack of self-esteem or depression. Studies in the USA and Berlin estimate, that 10% of all internet users are in danger of becoming addicted. Such addicts spend a mean time of 35-40 hours per week in the internet, satisfying their social needs, instead of searching for information.

In another report in netzeitung.de from January 12th 2007, a Berlin psychologist, Andreas Koch (from Caritas) was quoted, describing internet addicts as "walking dead, who spent 10-15 hours on the net, without eating, drinking or washing sufficiently," many of them living on Hartz IV and step by step saying good-bye to real life. The effects, once access to the computer is taken away, are similar to those of alcoholics or drug addicts. In extreme cases, according to Koch, the only way to deal with the addiction is complete abstinence, so that after 3-4 weeks their heads are clear again. Last year the Berlin Caritas had founded a therapy group for "internet-junkies." According to Caritas, more than one million internet users in Germany show signs of being addicted, while for at least 3-4 million people the use of this medium is called problematic.

On November 23rd, the German Society for Psychatrics, Psychotherapy and Neurology will hold a symposium in Berlin on reasons, consequences and therapeutic possibilities for internet addiction.