Addiction to smartphones is sweeping the globe. But with this technology so integrated into our daily lives, how can we tell how much is too much?
Americans Choose Phones over Sex as Smartphone Addiction Soars
It seems that anywhere you look these days you find people completely oblivious to the outside world, fully engrossed in whatever is appearing on the screen of their smartphone. Incredibly useful tools in this fast-paced, technological world, smartphones do offer many benefits. Unfortunately, however, many of us have the tendency to overdo it.
Smartphone addiction is increasing around the globe, and a recent study in the U.S. showcases the growing attachment that people are having to their phones.
New Study Showcases the Extent of Smartphone Addiction
In the 2016 Digital Habits Survey by Delvv, participants of the study were asked whether they would rather give up all sexual interactions for three months, or switch from a smartphone to a phone on which you can only call or text. 29% said they would choose to keep their smartphone over sex. This poses the question – what is happening in the world when people would rather give up one of the most basic and desirable human instincts for a piece of technology? Could smartphone addiction be to blame?
The Definition of Smartphone Addiction
Smartphone addiction is closely linked to internet addiction, as the main reason for being addicted to a smartphone is its instant access to the web and web-related apps and programmes. Both addictions are types of process addictions whereby a particular behaviour (in this case using or checking a smartphone) becomes uncontrollable. Studies show that certain behaviours affect the brain’s reward system in similar ways seen in drug and alcohol abuse.
How do you feel when you misplace your phone? Do you feel panicked? Sick? Relieved? Most people these days carry a smartphone with them (at all times) and it is becoming commonplace for a family of 5 to sit down at the table and finish their entire meal without so much as a peep to each other as they all individually text, check Facebook or read and write emails.
But with smartphones, tablets and other technologies so heavily integrated into our daily lives, and deemed necessary for many professions, how do we know how much smartphone use is too much? When is your smartphone use turning into an addiction?
The Most Common Cell Phone Addiction Symptoms
If you think that you or someone you know may be a smartphone addict, consider these tell-tale signs:
- Feelings of anxiety when your phone is not with you
- The need to respond to texts, emails, Tweets, etc. immediately
- Constantly checking your phone for new messages or notifications
- Frequent phantom cellphone vibration syndrome – the feeling that your phone just vibrated but when you go to check for your notifications you realise that you have not received anything new – or perhaps your phone is not even physically on you
- Inability to focus on what the person in front of you is talking about due to the compulsive need to continuously check social media, texts, etc.
- Decreased productivity at work or school due to using your phone when you should be working on projects
- The need to turn around when you are halfway to the store because you forgot your phone at home, and the thought of being out for just 20 or 30 minutes without it seems impossible
- Friends and family frequently complain about your smartphone use
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to speak to a professional about seeking treatment for smartphone addiction.
The Effects of Technology and Internet Addiction
Spending too much time online or on your smartphone can lead to many negative effects on a person’s life including the following:
- Reduction in social life, isolation
- Time distortion – losing complete track of time while on your phone
- Depression – the jury is still out on whether smartphone and internet addiction cause depression or vice versa, but the two are closely linked.
- Social anxiety
- Strained relationships
Why Internet-Based Addictions Require Specialised Treatment
Process addictions are treated similarly to substance addictions. At The Cabin Singapore, we offer specialised programming for all types of behavioural addiction including smartphone and internet addictions.
If you have tried to decrease your internet or smartphone use with little success, an addiction treatment programme may be just what you need. The Cabin Singapore uses a unique and effective approach which incorporates cognitive behavioural therapy to rewire the addicted brain.
It is important to seek treatment at a rehab centre that has experience dealing with process addictions specifically, as typical drug or alcohol addiction treatment centres will not have the correct tools to deal with the challenges that some process addictions present.
Smartphone Addiction Solutions
Most addiction recovery programmes are abstinence-based. But in this modern world, it is not realistic to expect that a person will never pick up a smartphone or log on to the internet ever again. That is why we use our own Recovery Zones treatment method, specifically designed for addictions in which complete abstinence is not possible or realistic.
We provide our clients with the tools and skills needed to use the internet and smartphones in a healthy way upon completing treatment. We also offer an aftercare programme where our clients can continue to consult us about any issues that crop up in early recovery.
When to Seek Treatment
The best time to seek addiction treatment is now. Addiction is a progressive disease which means that it will only get worse over time when left untreated. If you think that you or your loved one may have an addiction to their smartphone, call us today for an assessment. You are just one call away from changing your life for the better!