What are signs of technology addiction?
There are a variety of symptoms that can be seen from technology addiction which includes:
- Feeling of isolation when without technology
- Poor hygiene
- Weight gain
- Feeling the need to be dishonest about use
- Inability to keep schedules
- Euphoria while using technology
- Avoidance of work to use technology
- Neck pain
- Emotional instability
- Delaying tasks
- Boredom from regular tasks
- Wrist pain
- Vision problems
How to diagnose technology addiction?
Currently, there is no formal way to diagnose technology addiction. Just because someone uses the internet constantly, does a lot of online shopping, or is regularly on social media does not mean that they have a technology addiction. Technology addiction occurs when its use begins to interfere with daily activities negatively.
What type of criteria can be used to help diagnose technology addiction?
- Constantly thinks about technology
- Uses devices longer than planned
- Emotional instability when unable to use devices
- Inability to successfully reduce the use of the technological apparatus
- Must use technology for long periods of time to feel satisfied
- Lost personal or professional relationships due to technology overuse
- Uses technology as a way to escape real-life issues
- Dishonesty about technology use to friends and family members
What is the best way to treat technology addiction?
An effective form of treatment for technology addiction is prevention. This can be done in a variety of ways.
- Participate in equally exciting and stimulating offline activities.
- Develop authentic relationships within families, school, work, or communities.
- Develop healthy stress management techniques so technology can not be used as a quick fix for stimulation and escapism.
What are other self-care methods for treatment when prevention fails?
If prevention is not successful in avoiding technology overuse, the first step is to admit that there is a problem. Some research argues that technology addiction does not require treatment and can be resolved on its own. Exercise and increased activity are helpful with addictive behavior. Many self-corrective steps can be taken to reduce technology use as well.
What are medical treatments for technology addiction?
- Medications: If prevention and self-treatment are not successful, healthcare providers may prescribe medication. This is usually antidepressants or antianxiety medications because many feel that this addiction is likely related to an underlying problem such as anxiety or depression. Once these conditions are better managed, many times technology use may be reduced by as much as 50 percent.
- Psychotherapy: There are various therapy options available for this type of addiction, such as group, individual, art, equine, and behavioral therapy sessions.
- Treatment centers: Some people may require in-patient treatment to remove technology from their lives altogether. This is becoming more popular and readily available as compared to the past. In-patient treatment may include smartphone detox where all devices are taken away, and the focus can be on recovery.
Are you someone who can not imagine being without your smartphone for even just one minute? If you or anyone that you know are having trouble balancing technology use, one of our professionally trained healthcare providers at Specialty Health Clinic of Austin may be able to help.
Center of Dependency Addiction and Rehabilitation. (n.d.). Tech Addiction. https://www.cedarcolorado.org/articles/mental-health-and-addiction/tech-addiction/
Hamissi, J., Babaie,M., Hosseini,M., and Babaie, F. (2013). The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Technology Addiction among University Students. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine & Public Health . Vol. 5 (5). 310-319.
Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. (2017, March). Technology Addiction:Creating a Healthy Balance. https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/fcd/teen-technology-addiction
Psycom. (2020, November). Internet Addiction Disorder. https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html