18 October 2005



Teenager addicted to texting loses job

A teenager has become Scotland's first official text and email addict.

The 19-year-old spent 」60 a week on texts and racked up an annual phone bill of 」4500. He lost his job after sending 8000 emails in a month from his office computer. The teenager was referred to an addiction service and is now receiving counselling.

The head of the project said: "This patient has all the hallmarks of any classic addict where mental health problems such as depression, low self-esteem and relationship difficulties occur as a result of the addiction."

The teenager, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, lost his job after sending between 300 and 500 emails a day from work. He also split up with his girlfriend who could no longer cope with him spending hours a day texting and emailing her.

The youngster was eventually referred to the Renfrew Council for Alcohol Trust. Project leader Phillip Irvine said it was the first case of its kind in Scotland. He said: "He was referred to us by Unison after he was forced to resign from his office job.

"He was sending emails to his then girlfriend and suffering severe anxiety when he wasn't getting a reply, which was causing him to text and email more." The expert added: "We've set him goals to try to slow his addiction. He's trying to spend 」10 a week on his phone rather than the 」60 he was spending.

"This problem is probably suffered by many more people but it's not being diagnosed. This is the first case we have seen in Scotland but I am sure we will see many more."

The teenager, who wants to remain anonymous, told how he quit his job rather than face disciplinary procedures after being confronted by bosses. He tried to explain the buzz of texting, saying: "It's kind of comforting when you get a message. It's like a game of ping-pong, as you send one and get one back

Craig Mcdonald
15 October 2005


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