Phone addiction is now very common. Smartphones are everywhere in today’s world. Most people fail to go by 10 minutes without checking for updates or scrolling through social media. Through this habitual behaviour, through the addictive tendencies of social platforms, the internet and apps.
However, there are many negative impacts of a phone addiction, commonly associated with further dependencies. From the breakdown of physical relationships and the obsession of filtering reality, to mental health issues, a phone addiction can resemble the likes of a drug addiction; it can be just as damaging.
See the effects a phone addiction can have on an individual’s life, the signs of this habitual behaviour, it’s similarities to the likes of a drug addiction, and some self-help tips to reduce your unhealthy screen time.
The rise and effects of phone addiction
We now live in a social media, internet searching, gamified app existence. We spend more time than ever attached to our mobile devices, fuelling and maintaining a separate life through our phones. From building virtual relationships and battling for the #1 prize on a top trending game, to online shopping and sharing filtered images, our behaviours are changing. Our behaviours are turning into harmful habits, through our smartphones.
Within these habitual behaviours, unhealthy relationships are forming with our mobile phones, making them inseparable. However, this toxic connection is disconnecting us from those around us, while mirroring further mental health issues, impulse control disorders and dependencies, such as a drug addiction.
For example, mobile phones and their functions can be used as an escape. Forgetting reality through fantasy games, combatting loneliness through building virtual relationships, or supressing depression by seeking attention through social media. This is exactly how abusing drugs is seen. Drugs will also be used as an escape from reality. Once that pain point is improved, mobile phone usage and drug abuse will be identified as the helping hand; this resulting in further activity.
However, similarly in both unhealthy relationships, an addiction can develop, causing damaging effects. The vicious circle of addiction will begin, where the initial driver, in this case drugs and phone activity, can cause damage, resulting in mental health issues.
Many individuals in today’s world compare themselves to what they see on social media. Initially used as a coping mechanism, social media and phone activity will act as a crutch. However, the exposure resulted from addictive behaviours is known to place greater pressure on that crutch, fuelling comparison and competition; commonly identified as a causation for anxiety and depression.
With this in mind, a phone addiction can be as damaging as further addictive behaviours, such as a drug dependence. Further damaging effects include attention deficit disorders, negative sleeping patterns, self-absorption, loneliness, mental health issues, suicidal thoughts and obsessive comparison disorder; all carrying life-changing potentials.
Signs of phone addiction
Are you experiencing a phone dependence? Do you spend unhealthy stints of time on your mobile device? Here are some questions to ask yourself, showing the signs of a phone addiction…
- Do you find it hard to disconnect from your smartphone?
- Do you wake up in the night and spend time on your phone?
- Do you have a virtual reality through your social media platforms?
- Is your screen time unhealthy, making it hard to maintain concentration on work or physical relationships?
- Are your relationships and connectivity to others suffering?
- Do you struggle with anxiety, depression or stress?
- Do you suffer with obsessive comparison disorder from spending time on your phone?
- Do you have the ‘fear of missing out’?
- Do you struggle without your smartphone?
If you truly struggle without having your phone around, with the inability to use it, it is highly likely that you’re suffering with a smartphone dependence – Whether that’s down to a social media addiction to tackle loneliness, an internet addiction fuelling your online shopping disorder, or an online gambling problem, all are facilitated through your phone.
How similar is phone addiction to drug addiction?
From first look, a phone addiction and drug addiction may seem miles apart. However, through both abilities to cause severe mental health issues, they are in fact very similar.
Both changing the habitual behaviours of individuals, phones and drugs can be used as a coping mechanism or as a happy place to escape reality. However, their continuous use can cause attachment, slowly resulting in an addiction. Within this process, the unhealthy relationship of both phone and drug abuse are known to cause mental health issues, causing great concern.
A further similarity is the difficulty to overcome addiction. Once those addictive behaviours are engrained, it can be very difficult to break a habit. In both situations, when comparing phone addiction and drug addiction, significant psychological intervention and detachment recovery will be required.
The only factor separating both addictions is the stigma attached to drug abuse. As smartphone usage is common, where a larger proportion of people will experience addictive tendencies, it is branded as the norm. It is in fact viewed as a less concerning behavioural illness to have. However, in the grand scheme of things, both addictions are highly damaging and should be viewed with concern.
Self-help tips to reduce smartphone addiction
To help control your screen time and addiction to your smartphone, here are some self-help tips, recommended by our addiction specialists here at Rehab Clinics Group.
- Control your screen time: Try to actively reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone or the number of times you check your device.
- Understand your attachment: Understand what is driving the addiction. Whether that’s a particular app or emotion you’re experiencing. Try to resolve this with physical interaction.
- Prioritise physical relationships: It’s easy to get caught up in virtual relationships. Try to make a conscious effort to connect with those around you more.
- Remove addictive apps: If you’ve identified certain apps to be the causation of your phone addiction, begin to slowly remove yourself from them, with the end result of deleting them.
- Ask for professional support: Ask for professional support, available through our rehab facility. Addiction treatment can be completed, similarly to a drug addiction, with a focus on cognitive behavioural therapy and support groups.
If you’re truly finding it difficult to separate yourself from your smartphone, you could be living with an unidentified phone addiction. Consider the damage you’re doing, similar to a drug addiction, along with ways to reduce your unhealthy smartphone relationship. For our professional support, contact our team today.