The patients all suffering from back pains, red eyes and headaches are fidgety, anxious and at times aggressive if prevented to go online.
At the Bachir Mentouri clinic in Constantine, the capital of Constantine Province in north-eastern Algeria, Counselling, physical exercises, meditation and music therapy is the treatment being offered for internet addiction.
Bachir Mentouri clinic rolled out the rehab programme intended for compulsive users of technology, chiefly social networks users.
The North African nation has a low internet penetration rate which is at 32.8 percent in a country of 40 million people however for the more than nine million Facebook users; there is an increasing number of internet users losing control.
Sihem Hemadna, a psychologist at the clinic says she has met over 100 patients in May that ‘can spend the entire day online, from sunrise till sunset, getting into arguments on forums and social media – sometimes without taking a break to eat or even use the bathroom.’ The patients range from 17 years to 41 years.
People can spend hours each day in front of a screen without being addicted. The critical distinction between an addiction and just a bad habit is that addiction implies a pattern of use that you cannot stop.”
“A 2013 study (pdf) of university students in Uganda and Namibia found that while students spent less time online than their Western peers, they showed more instances of emotional dependency and mood modification—behavior like choosing to be online over going out.” Says Quartz