Being addicted to a smartphone isn’t a new phenomena, folks. We actually first saw cases of addiction to tech back in the 1990s, and decades later, the tech has changed but the addiction still applies. A troubling recent study demonstrates just how serious a smartphone addiction can be, especially when it comes to your brain.
The study, published in the “Addictive Behaviors” journal, found that people who were addicted to smartphones showed the same type of changes in the shape and size of the brain that is seen in those addicted to drugs (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306460319313802?via%3Dihub).
If you’re like a lot of people these days, you’ve probably got your smartphone glued to your hand more than you’d like. But how do you know if you are really headed down the path to true addiction? While the answer will depend on your particular situation, check out the following indicators to see if any of them apply to you regularly.
• You need to use your phone more and more to get the feeling you are looking for from it.
• You’ve tried to use your phone less but just can’t seem to do it.
• You are constantly thinking about using your phone when you’re not on it.
• You use your phone whenever you’re experiencing emotions you don’t want to feel, such as depression or anxiety.
• You get so lost in your phone that you lose chunks of time.
• You have put a relationship or your job at risk because of your phone use.
• When you can’t use your phone, you experience feelings such as tension, anger, restlessness, irritability and depression.
You can head off an addiction by lessening your daily smartphone use now. Don’t allow yourself to use your phone before or after a certain time, for example, so you get used to being without it over time. Set yourself rules — such as never using it while eating or at a social gathering with friends — and stick to those rules.
If you find yourself struggling to free yourself from your phone, you may need some help. Reach out to a mental health professional for help if you believe you may be addicted to your smartphone. A professional can help you devise a plan to reduce your smartphone use. Then, you’ll be able to use the time you would have spent on it on a healthier outlet instead.