Alcoholism is the most wide-spread addiction in Serbia but the Internet dependency is on the rise and will be dominant within five years, the head of an addiction treatment clinic warned.
There are between 200,000 and 300,000 alcoholics in Serbia and up 400,000 more suffering from some form of alcohol abuse, Dr Ivica Mladenovic told a psychology seminar organized by the Hemofarm Foundation.
Dr Mladenovic, who heads the Dependency Clinic at the Mental Health Institute, said that gambling was the second most wide-spread addiction.
Mladenovic warned that Internet dependency is not seen as a problem at the global level even though it is on the rise.
Psychiatrist Aleksandar Ramah, the owner of a private clinic, pointed out that in recent years, that “non-chemical dependence”, such as the one on betting and the Internet, has taken primacy since a significant number of people who come for treatment belong to that category.
About half of them are gamblers, and a half is Internet addicts, and these additions are often combined with the dependency on alcohol or other substances – Dr Ramah said.
Aleksandar Zugic, a representative of the Izlazak Association which is the meeting point for former addicts, underlined that therapy communities in Serbia have between 300 and 400 beds for addicts, more than all the state institutions of that type combined.
He noted that all the rehabilitation services and the treatment of addictions were located only in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Niš, with no facilities, doctors or advice available to addicts and their families in other parts of Serbia.
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