Smart Phone Addiction – Signs to look out for

According to a recent study taken by the University of Derby, one in eight people have become addicted to their phones.

It’s no real surprise when you consider the convenience that smart phones and smart devices have brought to our lives. It has become easy to keep in touch with friends and family, check the weather forecast or read the news with great simplicity.

However, for some people, this has caused them to develop Nomophobia – a phobia of not having a mobile phone. Smart phone addiction has become enough of an issue for it to be formally acknowledged, and to this extent, smartphones can cause more problems than they resolve.

There are several signs of a smart phone addiction that range from physical to psychological. If you believe you are addicted to using a smart phone, there are measure you can take to reduce your overuse of your mobile phone.


Signs of having a smart phone addiction

There are clear links to a smart phone addiction and difficulty sleeping. Research has concluded that the blue light that your smart phone emits can have a significant impact on your sleep cycle, making it more difficult for you to nod off. You may find yourself unable to stop using your phone until you close your eyes to go to sleep.

If you are aware that this could be interfering with how much sleep you get but feel unable to do anything about the issue at hand, this is one of the smart phone addiction signs.

One of the classic signs of an addiction is being unable to stop doing something despite it having bad consequences – and this is something that applies to texting and driving. Those who text and drive have a worse reaction time than people who drink and drive. Being unable to put your phone to one side when you’re driving is dangerous and inconsiderate, not to mention illegal. People who have an addiction to smart phones often find themselves falling into this trap.

In some cases of people suffering from Nomophobia, there are symptoms of actual physical discomfort. A 2015 study identified what happened to people who had their phone confiscated from everyday use.

In this study, subjects experienced increased blood pressure, elevated heart rate and decreased cognitive abilities.


How smart phones are linked to depression

Too much time using your smart phone can lead to your brain chemistry being awry. This leads to depression, insomnia, impulsive behaviour and anxiety.

Addiction doesn’t just mean that you spend a lot of time looking at your phone. There are measurable symptoms to help to indicate that you have grown a dependency on your phone that will interfere with your day to day life.

For some people who are experiencing a smart phone addiction, the thought of not having their phone on their person can cause them to experience anxiety. The idea of their phone being left at home whilst they go to work, or school, may send them into a panic.

Smart phones and social media are also an ongoing source of stress of anxiety. Whilst it’s a positive that the news of the world is at your fingertips, the world of Twitter and Facebook can cause negative states of mind. It was revealed in 2017 that political arguments on social media had a negative effect on 42% of people who are persistently on their phones. Only 27% of people with less smart phone use experienced this same effect.

You may have experienced the strange experience of not noticing what your friends and family are doing or saying, even if you’re sat next to them. When you give your smart phone as much attention as this, you will likely find yourself ignoring the people around you and the conversations that they are having – and this is a classic sign of smart phone addiction.

This is exacerbated by the fact that conversation is good exercise for your brain and when you ignore your friends or family so that you can check Twitter or Facebook, you are directly missing a chance to keep your mind engaged, active and busy.

Smart phones and gaming are as much a concern as social media use. It is very common to see someone suffering with a smart phone addiction spend hours with their nose stuck in Candy Crush or Farmville.

Gaming is an addiction that is a concern over the world for school age children and their parents, but gaming on a smart phone causes a potential perfect storm of having gaming (and in app purchases) available at the click of a button on a device that may already be getting too much use.


How we can help

Have you made several attempts to cut back how much you use your phone? If so, and you have failed on multiple occasions, it is likely that you are experiencing Nomophobia and an addiction to your smart phone.
Going “cold turkey” and removing your phone from your life is not recommended and instead you should attempt to cut down little by little until you have reached your set daily goal of screen time. It could be that you find this difficult.

If this is the case, why not call Step One Recovery today for a conversation about your smart phone use? We can give you guidance and advice about how much time you are using your phone every day, and how to cut down on your use.

It could be that you are concerned about your own use or are concerned about a child who is spending too much time on their phone buried in social media.

A smart phone addiction does not have the same media coverage as other addictions but can cause a lot of damage to someone’s life. Especially children, who in their key years in school could find themselves distracted from vital learning.

If you’d like a no obligation discussion about Nomophobia and smart phone addiction, please call Step One Recovery today on 0330 107 2950.


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