How to overcome digital addiction

Posted Apr 13, 2018 by Tim Sandle
Are you addicted to digital technology? Always on social media? Be warned, a new psychological study finds that digital addiction increases loneliness, anxiety and depression.
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The extent of this modern from of addiction is quite considerable, with the research indicating that smartphone over-use can be similar to other types of substance use. However, it is not all bad news. the study, from the San Francisco State University, also suggests ways to outsmart smartphones.
The term "digital addict" is relatively new in the lexicon of psychology. The term is used to refer to any person who compulsively uses digital technology. In addition, this could manifest as another form of addiction if that technology was not as easily accessible to them. Generally this describes a person whose interaction with technology is verging on excessive and which has a negative impact on the well-being of the user.
This type of addiction can be spotted, and treated. According to the lead researcher Professor Erik Peper: ""The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief -- gradually."
Summarized in Forbes, the researchers found, based on a survey of 135 San Francisco State students, that excessive use of smart phones bears striking similarities to those diagnosed with substance abuse. Their research outcome is straightforward: the heaviest smartphone users exhibited the greatest degree of depression, anxiety and loneliness, and isolation.
The researchers do state that the addiction can be treated. They are of the view that people can take charge and train themselves to be less addicted to our phones and computers. To begin with, the researchers recommend, people should turn off push notifications; only respond to email and social media at specific times; and to schedule periods with no interruptions to focus on important tasks. For more serious addicts, other measures leading up to stopping social media use entirely are required.
The research has been published in the journal NeuroRegulation. The research paper is titled "Digital Addiction: Increased Loneliness, Anxiety, and Depression."