Cell phone addiction is increasing rapidly as more people own and use smartphones on a regular basis for a variety of needs. The vast majority of Americans own a cell phone, and many use smartphones that keep them connected to the internet. Many are cell phone dependent, meaning they do not have an alternate phone or Internet connection in their homes. Currently, smartphones can be used for most daily tasks or interpersonal interactions. People can make voice, video, and written communication, take photographs, play games, watch movies, get news, information about health conditions, conduct banking, do job searches, and submit applications.
Many cell phone owners say they couldn’t live without it regardless of broadband internet availability. This detail indicates that cell phone dependence is based on some other factor. One possible alternate factor is social media use, which studies indicate is driven by a desire to connect socially. It has also been shown to affect the same areas of the brain as drugs and is just as addicting. While mobile phone addiction is a serious problem, a process addiction treatment program can help.
How Mobile Phone Addiction Develops
Scientists say that the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain during social media activities can be more intense than heroin use. Almost all cell phone users keep their phones near them during waking hours, and many keep phones within reach while sleeping. People may wish to cut back, but continue to check their phones incessantly. Many people check their phones upon waking, even before they say good morning to their significant other. And young adults reportedly check their phones every few minutes. In fact, society uses cell phones so much that they have become an extension of the self, like an extra appendage.
Identify Your Mobile Phone Addiction
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not formally recognize cell phone addiction. But accepted signs and symptoms of mobile phone addiction are similar to other compulsive behaviors or substance use disorders. They include:
- Preoccupation or compulsion with cell phone use
- Tolerance such that use is continually increased over time
- Loss of control to reduce or stop cell phone use regardless of the negative consequences
- Withdrawal symptoms such as irritation, anxiety, and depression when cell phone use is stopped
How to Break Cell Phone Addiction
So how can you break your cell phone addiction? Approach treatment for this process addiction the same way you would tackle other behavioral health concerns. And learning and developing coping skills that manage desire, and control urges is an important step. The following five actions could help:
- Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock. Resist the urge to check your phone and social media immediately upon waking. Use a regular alarm clock and leave your phone charging in another room so it is not easy to reach. Make sure to greet your significant other and take care of hygiene before checking your phone.
- Set limits for usage. Set specific goals to limit use, like, “I will only spend 30 minutes on social media today and I will not use my phone during mealtime.”
- Turn your phone off. It may be hard to leave your phone at home for the day, but you can start small by turning the phone off for a specified about of time, say two hours. Over time, you can progress to leaving the phone off for longer periods, leaving it in the car when at social events, and eventually leaving it at home altogether.
- Practice mindfulness. Practice deep breathing and being present in the moment. Acknowledge your emotions and deal with them. Look around at your surroundings and take time to appreciate things you may have taken for granted while consumed by activities on your cell phone.
- Seek assistance. Enlist the help of family and friends to support you and offer healthy distractions such as physical and social activities that don’t involve cell phones. It may also be a good idea to talk to your doctor about your concerns.
Reach Out to The Ranch TN for Cell Phone Addiction Treatment
The Ranch TN offers a unique residential treatment program that can help you heal from mobile phone addiction and other process addictions. Our beautiful setting in rural Tennessee allows you to focus on recovery, away from the distractions and triggers of your everyday life. Learn more by connecting with our team at 1.844.876.7680.