UGANDA & INTERNET ADDICTION: PSYCHIATRISTS REPORT NEW WAVE OF MENTAL ILLNESS

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Psychiatrists are reporting a new wave of mental illness termed “internet addiction” in Uganda caused by excessive internet use and digital platform addiction.

This emerging mental health issue has led to at least 318 cases being admitted at Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital in Kampala as of July 14, 2023.

Among the 10,740 patients being treated for various conditions at the hospital, internet addiction ranks as one of the top mental health cases, alongside conditions such as bipolar disorder and alcohol use disorder. The majority of patients affected by internet addiction are young people of all genders.

According to Owor, the rise in internet addiction cases began after the COVID-19 pandemic and has steadily increased since then.

Richard Okidi Owor, a Senior Counselor at Butabika National Referral Mental Hospital, says that men account for the largest number of mental illness cases, totaling approximately 6,784 patients.

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