While not officially recognized in any medical journals on mental and addiction disorders, smartphone addiction can be a real problem for some people. With the number of mobile device users now more than traditional computer users, there is a growing concern of just how attached we have become to our mobile phones.
You may be surprised to learn that the ways we use our phones can affect our brain behaviors. Some of these behaviors mimic those of other types of addictions. In some cases, smartphone addiction can lead to other types of addictions such as:
- Internet Addiction
- Pornography Addiction
- Online Gambling Addiction
- Online Shopping Addiction
Furthermore, smartphone addiction can cause us to develop different types of impulse-control issues that affect our actual real-world relationships. Some of the more common impulse-control issues smartphone addicts can face include:
- More virtual online relationships than actual real-world relationships.
- Neglecting real-world life like your job, friends, family, hobbies and social events.
- Lack of self-control when playing video games, watching videos, or other web/app-based content.
Signs and Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction
There are several signs and symptoms people will start to notice if they have developed an addition to their smartphone like:
- Losing long periods of time because you are distracted by your phone.
- Problems falling asleep and staying asleep.
- A sense of anxiety if you do not have your phone with you.
- You cannot sit still and do nothing – you must be on your phone.
- You constantly check social media.
- You text while driving without any regard for the safety of others.
- You are having problems in your real-world relationships.
- Your real-world sexual drive has declined.
- You rely on texting more than talking to people face-to-face or on the phone.
- You mindlessly scroll social media and web pages simply because you are bored.
- You start thinking you hear your phone ring or feel it vibrate even though it has not.
- You feel a sense of disconnect and loneliness without your phone.
- You cannot leave home without your phone and will make a point to go back and get it if you forget it.
- You ignore eating and interacting with your spouse, family, and friends because you spend the entire meal on your phone.
- You use your phone while being intimate with your partner.
- You sleep with your phone.
- Denying you are addicted to your smartphone.
It is important to keep in mind, like with other addictions, the signs, and symptoms one experiences can and does vary from person to person.
As a general rule, if you are on your phone for more than 5 hours a day, then you may have a smartphone addiction. The first step to getting help better managing your smartphone usage and finding out if you truly could have an addiction is to admit you need help.
The next step is to contact me, Ellen Starr to arrange a consultation appointment. I have been providing counselling services in the GTA for more than 27 years. Please feel free to call 416-488-3102 to schedule an appointment today!