Got my first Smartphone addiction case today

smartphone addiction edinburgh

Even though Smartphone addiction is not recognised as an official mental disorder, I saw my first client today who feels she is addicted to her Smartphone.

 

She cannot go to sleep until her best friend texts her back with a wish of a good nights sleep.However, her friend feels the same way and so begins a vicious cycle of ping pong by text all through the wee hours of the night.

 

What the girls don’t realise is that the expectancy of waiting for a text is actually causing a Dopamine spike in their neurology which can become very addictive in the same way that online gambling, pornography, online shopping and of course Social Media.

 

The way this obsessive texting is causing my client problems is in the way of low self-esteem, depression and acute anxiety.From there, she is becoming more and more isolated and impulsive as she is chasing the hit of Dopamine which all of us are hard-wired to do.

 

She is using her Smartphone to distract herself from her daily problems and to anaesthetize feelings of worthlessness and shame.You could replace the noun Smartphone with any other addictive substance because they all give you that very moreish Dopamine spike that certain people will crave and chase until they realise the road to happiness is, in fact, a vicious circle.

 

My client’s Mother has tried to restrict her Daughter’s use of the Smartphone but this has resulted in outbursts of extreme anger and insecurity.You could say it is withdrawal.

 

On further investigation, I came across a recent article from Isaac Vaghefi, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems, Binghampton University State University of New York and his findings are that females are far more likely to exhibit symptoms of addiction uniquely to Smartphones.They give their users short, quick, immediate bursts of satisfaction which can be very triggering.

 

I am treating my client as I would with any other who has come to me with an Addiction.Firstly, I need them to accept they have a problem and then I need their total commitment to wanting to change.Only once we have that can we start actually addressing what actually is causing it at a deeper level.The addictive behaviour is just a symptom.That is why if you just treat the presenting symptoms the client is very likely to cross addict.I see this, especially with Alcoholics.Once they stop drinking they start consuming large amounts of sugar and/or Nicotine as they both induce spikes of Dopamine in the brain, hence, satisfying the craving.

 

So if you or anyone you know is displaying signs of being addicted to their Smartphone, I can help.

 

On a personal note, I am slowly realising that I am on Social Media and my Smartphone far too much and it is actually affecting my powers of concentration.So, it is goodbye Facebook and my next mobile phone will be a Nokia! I reckon I am not the first and certainly not the last once people start realising how much time we take up constantly checking their phones for no good reason at all.