Phone addiction: Here are the signs to watch for and the potential effects on your health

Chronic phone use can carry various dangers for the mental and physical health of addicts who can't tell they have a problem because of the ubiquitous nature of smart phones.

phone addiction dangers signs
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phone addiction dangers signs

Smartphones have become an integral pillar of our daily lives. In both personal and professional realms, we are often reliant on these devices to function. Throughout the years, these devices have incrementally gained functionality that transitioned them from a simple means of communication to a multifaceted machine capable of allowing one to be entertained, manage finances, read books, find dates, navigate and a slew of other uses that have made them indispensable. However, as much value as these little screens have brought to our lives, they can have some negative impact if one is not weary of the potential dangers of the modern phone.

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The potential signs of phone addiction

Some studies have found that people can not only develop addictive patterns around the use of their smartphones but also that phone addiction can affect important areas of the brain in a similar vein to drugs according to re-origin. This is because some applications, notably social media, develop very complex algorithms centered around capturing the most coveted item that makes them profitable: your attention.

As such they invest a lot of resources into making sure your feed caters to exactly your needs/wants/interests thereby invoking continuous hits of dopamine that keep you scrolling for your next hit. Similarly to a drug addict, the ‘feel good’ effect of the dopamine is something pleasant and the more it is chased the more one becomes dependent on it. It is a pursuit of a feeling that will never be satisfied. Hence it creates signs that point to a fundamental issue. According to Addiction Center, here are some signs of phone addiction:

  • Anger or irritation if phone use is interrupted
  • Reaching for the phone at moments of boredom or loneliness
  • Feeling phantom vibrations: thinking the phone vibrates when it doesn’t
  • Constant and excessive screen time
  • Fear of missing out
  • Incrementally dwindling social life

The detrimental effects of phone addiction on the brain

Chemical changes

Chronic phone addiction was shown to have a direct effect on specific neurotransmitters such as GABA which can control fear and anxiety and creates a calming and euphoric effect according to the Addiction Center. GABA production can be increased or decreased by phone abuse which reinforces addictive behaviour.

Physical changes

Phone abuse has been shown to have a direct effect on the brain's grey matter, the part of the central nervous system that controls cognitive functions like memory and emotion. One’s grey matter can change in size and shape from over exposure to screens which is a similar effect to the changes induced by drugs on addicts.

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re-origin: Phone Addiction: Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Addiction Center: Phone Addiction: Warning Signs And Treatment

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