We’ve all heard of the horrors of cocaine addiction. You may have stared into the glazed eyes of a heroin junkie. Perhaps you have witnessed the erratic behaviour of someone high on crystal meth. Did you look at them with scorn and think “It will never happen to me?”
What if it already has? The question that needs to be asked is: “Are you a mobile-phone addict?”
So… are you addicted?
Cell-phone addiction is no laughing matter and it is a lot more prevalent than you may imagine. For some, the only option left is to check into rehab. One such facility, which offers specialised treatment programs for cell-phone addiction, is reStart.
Based in Redmond, WA; reStart takes the same systematic approach to cell-phone addiction as it would to kleptomania, gambling and other behavioural addictions. Researchers warn that the number of cell-phone addicts is on the rise. This is hardly surprising considering that 82% of Americans surveyed admitted to the addictive effects of mobile phones.
But what actually triggers this addiction? Scientists have managed to link the release of dopamine – the brain chemical responsible for happiness – to cell-phone usage. While most of us are able to cope with normal cell-phone usage, people who manifest underlying psychological problems, such as depression, are more likely to succumb to this type of addiction.
Cool and uncool
- Getting simple pleasure out of surfing the web when you’ve nothing better to do or need to find something is considered harmless. Indeed, such an activity is socially acceptable. What differentiates this type of behaviour from that of a full blown addict? What are the warning signs that you should be on the alert for? Some of the typical symptoms include the following:
- Reading or responding to text messages while driving. This reckless behaviour is incredibly irresponsible. Those guilty of this behaviour are not only a danger to themselves, but pose a very real risk to other road users as well.
- Feelings of anxiety, irritability or depression when data runs low or if the WiFi signal cuts out.
- Feelings of separation anxiety or panic when you misplace or cannot find your phone immediately.
- Constantly checking your phone for messages without having heard notification alarms or vibrations.
- Checking your phone messages during inappropriate moments, for example during a business meeting or while out on a romantic date.
- Checking your phone the second you wake up or falling asleep while using your phone.
OMG! Do I need rehab?
Now that you are aware of the symptoms, ask yourself once again, “Are you a cell-phone addict?” If you can say ‘yes’ to each of the points listed above, then there’s a strong chance that you may have a real problem.
However, before you rush off and book yourself into rehab, take a breather. Ironically, there is an app that has been designed to monitor cell-phone usage and make you aware of your addiction levels. Called “Break free cell phone addiction” this app will provide you with tools to help reduce addictive behaviour.
If you are a parent who is concerned that your child may be a cell-phone addict, another very nifty app to consider is “Screentime Parental Control.” With this app you are able to block access to other apps, set daily time limits, block social networks and games during school hours and even use your own phone to over-ride your child’s phone. Very neat!