Technology Addiction

Are you forgetting how the hours slipped when you were dealing with your cell phone? Are you from the ones who could not finish work while surfing the internet in the workplace? Do you wake up at night and check your cell phone to see how many “like” your photo gets on facebook? Are you checking your tablet before taking a coffee as you wake up in the morning? And all these habits seem normal to you. You are addicted to technology just like millions of people in the world nowadays.

Technology addiction, also known as Internet addiction, Internet use disorder (IUD) or Internet addiction disorder (IAD) is a fairly new phenomenon. It’s mostly described as a problem involving the inability to control use of various kinds of technology, in particular the Internet, smartphones, tablets and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In today’s world it’s easy to access the Web and social media from almost anywhere. Most of us are dependent on communicating via the tiny computers we carry with us. Thus, it’s no surprise that health experts are seeing an increase in addictive tendencies to technology. Technology addiction is not as innocent as you can ignore. Especially, in the cases of video games, cybersex/online pornography and online gambling, the addiction to technology easily can become a threat for your life and for the people around you by preventing your daily life.

Technology addiction isn’t recognized as addictions or disorders in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which is a reference used by health care providers to diagnose mental health conditions. Just “excessive playing of video games” named “Internet Use Gaming Disorder” was added to the DSM-5 in 2013 with the condition of further study recommendation.

Although this problem has taken place in the agendas of health professionals since the 1990s as the use of internet and smart technologic vehicles entered to our lives, it is really a big problem that technology addiction isn’t yet a recognized as a disorder.  Health experts has been continuing to study on this area as the psychological and physical and even vital problems started to occur in the society. In 1995 the Center for Internet Addiction was established and the first treatment plan for technology addiction based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques was created.

The way technology addiction is defined can differ from country to country. Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that between 1.5% and 8.2% of the population suffers from Internet addiction in the early 2000’s. Researchers at Stanford University made a telephone survey in 2006 which found that twenty percent of Americans have at least one possible sign of problematic Internet use. The statistics in the U.S. show that technology addiction in the US is mostly related to smartphones, texting and social media. Technology addiction is recognized as a widespread health problem in most of the countries, including Australia, China, Japan, India, Italy, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, where dedicated clinics to address this growing issue were established.

Like other types of addiction, technology addiction can order from moderate to severe. Like other addictions, people who use their phones or stay online for many hours a day experience the similar feelings and also feel withdrawal when cut off. The amount of time spent with the digital device doesn’t show the problem of technology addiction. When the excessive use of digital devices affects your  mental and physical health, daily life, relationships and academic or job performance, this means the disorder has started to occur.

According to the health experts working on technology addiction, the symptoms are specifically compulsive checking of text messages, frequent changing of Facebook status and uploading of “selfies”, a feeling of euphoria while on the Web, social withdrawal, loss of interest in activities that don’t involve a computer, phone or gadget, feelings of restlessness when unable to go online. Technology addiction also causes stress, sleep disorders and depression.

If you’re concerning about excessive use of technologic devices by you or by a loved one, it may be time to look for a health care professional or psychotherapist who can evaluate symptoms, make a diagnosis or rule out an addiction to technology and recommend a treatment plan. Don’t be upset about your addiction to technology, because today there are a variety of available resources to help, whether you’ve just noticed the problem or have seen it worsen over time.

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