It shouldn’t be a big surprise that there is a direct correlation between addiction and smartphones. You see people solely engaged in their phones all day, every day, often while walking down a busy street and even while driving in their cars. Researchers have found that, as with any addiction, smartphone addiction can be dangerous as it creates isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression.
Smartphone Addiction Share Similar Brain Behaviors as Observed in Opioid Addiction.
“The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief — gradually,” said San Francisco State University Professor of Health Education Erik Peper, in a recent study published by Peper and Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey, in NeuroRegulation, the official journal of the International Society of Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR).
In their study, Peper and Harvey discuss how smartphone use is replacing physical interaction with more and more people, especially in the younger generation, which tends to be social media obsessed. All of this digital technology use is great for tech industry profitability, but bad for the human brain.
“More eyeballs, more clicks, more money,” said Peper. “Push notifications, vibrations, and other alerts on our phones and computers make us feel compelled to look at them by triggering the same neural pathways in our brains that once alerted us to imminent danger, such as an attack by a tiger or other large predator.
“But now we are hijacked by those same mechanisms that once protected us and allowed us to survive — for the most trivial pieces of information.”
Identifying Digital Addiction as a Problem
As with any addiction, once a person identifies that digital addiction is a problem, they can take the proper steps to change the way they utilize their time and their smartphones. Some suggestions Peper and Harvey give are to set designated times for checking e-mail and social media and to turn off push notifications.