We just can not keep our fingers off our smartphone. Up to 56 times a day we look at our little everyday helper, as a study has found. However, we do not spend the bulk of our cell phone time talking on the phone, but writing messages, for example via the WhatsApp messenger.
When am I addicted?
But the grip on the phone can be compulsive. There are several symptoms that indicate an addiction in those affected. Alarms include:
- The person concerned spends most of his time with his smartphone.
- Even if the person is not on the phone, his thoughts revolve around social networks or messenger services.
- Although the person concerned would like to use the phone less, he can not do it.
- If the person concerned has no access to the smartphone, he is irritated or depressed.
TECHBOOK has withDr. Reta Pelz, chief physician of child and adolescent psychiatry in the MEDICLIN clinic on the Lindenhhe in Offenburg, talked about mobile phone addiction. The diagnosis of cell phone addiction would not exist yet. So far it is still the subject of the scientific discussion, whether the excessive use of the mobile phone can be regarded as behavioral addiction. “Many scientific studies indicate that the excessive and uncontrolled use of smartphones and social networks such as Facebook, Snapchat or WhatsApp may be accompanied by symptoms traditionally seen in substance-related disorders, substance dependence, alcohol dependence or drug addiction.” Reta fur.
General features of an addiction are: being well-received, developing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, loss of control, continuing to use despite negative consequences, deceiving family members or other persons in terms of extent of use and use to counteract negative moods.
How the smartphone changes our relationship
In general, every smartphone user should be concerned as soon as everything revolves around the phone, even interrupting nice and enjoyable activities to look at the screen of the smartphone. “Doing business with a mobile phone should not interfere with practicing hobby, joint activities, everyday tasks or replace social contacts,” says chief physician. Fur opposite TECHBOOK ..
The other way around: If people spend many hours with the smartphone, but fulfills the other obligations and interests of everyday life such as sports and friends, rather have no addiction problem.
The addictive potential of the smartphone
“In my opinion, it’s the many different options that can be reached at the push of a button, using social networks, chatting, surfing the internet, playing games etc.,” says Pelz. Most research would also show that social networks are at risk for dependency. Above all, this depends on the feeling that you have to be available at all times so that you do not miss anything.
Like other addictions, the addiction to the phone in the brain is created and is related to our reward system and the dopamine produced there. “Similar to substances such as alcohol and nicotine or gambling, overuse of smartphones and social networks in the brain can lead to the rapid release of the happiness hormone dopamine. It makes you happy and happy, at least in the short term, “says Pelz.
“The excessive use of mobile phones can lead to increased isolation, withdrawal from the ‘real world’, neglect of friends and loved ones, but also neglect of everyday tasks and obligations to school failure,” says Pelz. Researchers have also found in studies that there is a correlation between behavioral problems and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, poorer performance at work or at school due to reduced cognitive performance and reduced leisure time interests.
This helps against the smartphone addiction
Anyone with the feeling that they spend a little too much time on their cell phones, that is to say, there is a trick that helps against the heavy use of the smartphone. “You should be aware of the actual consumption, for example by keeping a diary. You should also write down what you could do alternatively, for example, what used to be fun and what you would like to do more often again, “advises Pelz. This helps to estimate how much time we spend on the phone and what we could do instead.
Another option is to be offline for a certain amount of time, ie to switch off mobile data usage or WLAN. Another option is a complete day without a smartphone. This experiment would also reveal if there was a dependency. “Instead of simply banning smartphone use, parents should offer alternatives to their children, such as joint activities or outings. In addition, parents have an exemplary function. Anyone who constantly looks at their mobile phones themselves can not expect digital abstinence from the child, “explains Pelz.
In addition to doctors and addiction counseling centers in the vicinity, affected persons also offer specialized contact points such as the Fachverband Medienabhngigkeit or the Federal Center for Health Education.