In the tech-driven world, a smartphone is a revolutionary offering to people, and it is called so because it is much more than a communication device. With facilities like the internet and camera, many people use mobile phones as their workstations, and others, especially young people, use them as a tool to remain in touch with their friends through various social media platforms. Thus, the use has led to the onset of smartphone addiction and actually requires professional mental health treatment.
The advantageous features of smartphones are countless. However, there is a flip side to it. People are getting hooked on such devices, which is giving rise to health concerns like “mobile phone addiction” and related mental disorders. According to experts, nomophobia is a new health condition that has surfaced with the continuous use of smartphones. Nomophobia is the 21st century’s abbreviation used for the phrase “no mobile phone phobia,” which explains the fear and stress caused when not having or being able to use smartphones.
As per experts, the constant use of smartphones not only causes vision problems but also has a significant impact on the functioning of the brain. While the harmful radiations emitted by the devices are responsible for causing several health concerns, the constant hooking on them can trigger mental issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Similar to drug abuse, smartphone addiction is no longer limited to a particular age group. Although highly prevalent among teenagers, smartphone use and dependence is a growing fad even among adults and the elderly population. Today, smartphones are put into use for everything, starting from playing games, asking for directions, clicking photographs, sending emails, making video calls, and chatting to managing a website or running a large-scale business. Hence, there are multiple reasons for a person to remain hooked on his/her smartphone. However, heavy use is causing more harm than benefits.
Researchers have discovered that the majority of participants in the studies exhibit withdrawal symptoms when kept away from their smartphones. They experience symptoms like an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, and a decrease in self-reported extended self and cognition. However, the impact is found to be severe in the case of teenagers and young adults. In recent years, researchers have recorded a significant rise in the incidence of depression and suicide in teenagers. They identify new media screen time as an important modern risk factor for depression and suicide.
With the extent of dependency on a smartphone, its use is inevitable. However, its excessive use can be controlled by avoiding some common things like constant presence on social media platforms, over-the-night chatting that disturbs sleeping patterns and using them during a time of leisure. Additionally, introducing a few disciplines for using smartphones and practicing experiential therapies, such as yoga, can also help in maintaining a phone-life balance. If you or your loved one is suffering from smartphone addiction and experiencing mental issues like depression, seek immediate medical help by contacting a mental health facility’s helpline and knowing about the evidence-based treatment for psychiatric disorders.