Device Addiction Is Reality Today

Category: Healthcare Advances Written by Dr. Charles Shively / August 6, 2019

Is device addiction caused by a thirst for wholeness through a constant need for reassurance? Is this a type of bliss? Although the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th Edition (DSM-5) has not yet classified device addiction as a type of mental personality disorder, it may surprise many to realize this is a serious addiction. Addiction comes in many ways to every individual in this modern world: Desire and Need for Acceptance and Reassurance, Rapid Communication, Alcohol Consumption, Opioid Dependence, Smoking, Need for Visualized Comfort, Sensory Experiences, Online/ Computer Gaming and others. What is your addiction?

Is any age individual immune from this challenging new age affliction? It would appear every age group today is being challenged. Currently addicted individuals aged 20-80 and subsequent long term effects for youth are representative of what is often called a pandemic…if the effects are known to be health challenging. Device addiction, on the other hand, is not yet considered health challenging. But why? Everyone involved in today’s society has just accepted it as a way of life that cannot be detrimental. Mistake!! Why do individuals allow themselves to justify device addiction as a result of current circumstance?

Of course, for many, the current business demands are a major contributor. Yet when not used for business or personal family connections, why is there a demand for YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Google Duo, FaceTime, Skype and the other “social media” sites available via mobile phones, laptops and home computers?

Is this really a need for personal acceptance and assurance? This is of course suggestive of the current new age advance of narcistic tendencies which many individuals possess and do not understand about their personalities. Surprised? The pressure for success and continued advancement in lifestyle and personal relationships is a dominant factor often not realized by the majority. It is of course the need for “I am the most important” person in my life. What happened to the concept of every individual needs another to be complete without thinking of themselves as the priority? Yes it is the New Age of Reassurance.

When does the cycle of device addiction begin? For individuals today age 20-80 it began when they chose email or iPhone or Android involvement…without awareness of the addiction potential. It was the “way to be connected”. Youth, often aged no more than 2 years old, are provided cellphones by new age parents as a device for “learning” and currency with their future advance. Once a young person learns how to access the YouTube app, it shows them the World and will not stop. Does anyone care about the health consequences…for this young individual long term? It would appear that today it is not a consideration when a youth is provided this world access…and the beat goes on?

What are the signs of Device Addiction? Over 90% of adults…and children…possess a cell phone, iPad or Android device or computer. A recent PEW Research Center study revealed that 67% of smart phone users admitted to regularly checking their phone for call or messages even when their phone did not vibrate or ring. This is a major sign of cell phone dependence and should serve as a warning to device owners.

When at least 4 of the following signs and symptoms are present for an individual, device addiction is in place:

    1. The need to use the device more and more often to achieve the same desired effect
    2. Persistent failed attempts to use the device more often
    3. Preoccupation with device use…when experiencing unwanted feelings such as anxiety or depression
    4. Excessive use characterized by loss of sense of time
    5. Putting a relationship or job at risk due to excessive device use
    6. Limited resistance for accessing newest devices or more applications
    7. Withdrawal pains when device or network is unreachable creating:
      • Anger
      • Tension
      • Depression
      • Irritability
      • Restlessness

What are the physical effects of device addiction? Many health related effects of device addiction can result in different physical problems causing permanent damage or difficulty to treat. These include:

  1. Digital eye strain
    • Eyes begin to burn or ditch
    • Blurred vision
    • Eye fatigue
    • Headaches
  2. Neck problem
    • Text neck
  3. Increased illnesses due to germs
    • 1 in 6 cell phones have fecal matter on it
  4. C. difficile or E. coli bacteria?
  5. Car accidents
    • Multi tasking causes impairment
  6. Male infertility
    • Cell phone radiation may decrease sperm count, mobility and viability
  7. Sleep disturbances
    • Use before bed increases insomnia
    • Light emitted from cell phone increases brain activation if near sleeping individual

There are many ways to guarantee a full night’s sleep. These are some suggestions:

  • Turn off the TV
  • Grab a cup of herbal tea
  • Take an Omega-3 Supplement
  • Break a sweat through exercise
  • Turn on “white noise” or an app as you retire
  • Understand the impact of your medications
  • No smoking before bed… skip smoking after the happy experience of sex!!!
  • Put down the cell phone. Turn it off!!!!

Am I addicted to my device? The following device addiction self-assessment may teach the extent of device addiction and allow self-diagnosis of device addiction. In today’s environ every individual can be challenged by these signals:

  1. Do you spend more time on your device than you realize?
  2. Do you pass time using your device rather than doing more productive things?
  3. Do you lose track of time while on the device?
  4. Do you spend time more time texting, tweeting or emailing as opposed to talking?
  5. Is the time you spend on devices increasing?
  6. Do you wish you could be released from device addiction?
  7. Where is your device when you sleep? Bedstand or under the pillow?
  8. Do you view, answer texts, tweets and emails at all hours of the day and night?
  9. Do you text while driving?
  10. Are you reluctant to be without your device, even for a short time?
  11. Do you always have your device with you when you leave the house or work?
  12. Is your device always part of the table place setting?
  13. Do you have an intense urge to check for texts, tweets or emails when the phone rings or vibrates?
  14. How often do you check for new texts, tweets or emails when you know there is nothing likely new or important to see?
  15. Do you use your phone while in the “act” with your partner?

What happens when an individual is without device addiction? Remorse? Depression? Euphoria? Release or reduced use of devices and their toxic effects impacts each individual differently. No surprise!! Depending upon the intensity of the original need and craving for device addiction, successful release of the addiction can allow return to a near normal mental psychiatric state.

With the removal of this device addiction, clarity can return and stop the chasing of personal rainbows. Are shadows of the past chasing each individual and fueling the need for acceptance and reassurance? Does device addiction drive the continuing pursuit of these lures?

As ageing occurs, does time become an illusion? Is the ageing process actually about the evolving self, understanding our many lives and masters and to know as we are known? Is it about an ongoing search for peace of mind?

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Thank for sharing!

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