Technology simplifies our lives. People have easy access to the Internet, social media apps, games, and texting just to name a few. Smartphones and other digital devices conveniently connect us to family, friends, and information. Some people use these devices for work, getting directions to a different location, and sharing photos. While there are many advantages to having the technology, many people are becoming addicted to them.
As with addiction to drugs and alcohol, addictive behavior changes normal brain activity. The addictive behavior triggers a release of dopamine to promote the pleasurable experience activating the release of this chemical. Over time, more and more of the activity is required to induce the same pleasurable response, creating a dependency. (Christina Gregory, Ph.D., PSYCOM, 2019). The most commonly identified categories of technology addiction include gaming, social networking, email, blogging, online shopping, and inappropriate Internet pornography use.
Although digital technology connects everyone to everything, it disconnects us from the real world. People are losing in-person human connections and real-life relationships due to the excessive use of technology. Addictive behavior interferes with important relationships and the way a person interacts with others.
Technology and social media
Addiction to screen time and technology can lead to problems with productivity. Addiction affects a person’s job performance and can result in job loss. Many people are not allowed to use any personal device at work. A person with an addiction to using technology or a smartphone will find ways to check social media updates despite restrictions.
Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, talked about what Facebook might be doing to children’s brains. He stated, “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'” He then explained, “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.” (Mike Allen, Axios, 2017).
Just like other addictions, a person with a technology addiction will feel discomfort when weaning his or herself from addictive behavior. Technology is contributing to continuous partial attention, limiting an individual’s ability to focus, and distracting people from reality.
Treatment is available
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or addictive behavior, you are not alone. Addiction is isolating, but treatment is available and there is hope in recovery. Take the first step to a healthy, fulfilling substance-free life and get help today.
The Fort Worth Recovery umbrella covers medically supervised detox, as well as residential programs for men and women alike. Our programs are abstinence-based and combine a 12-step approach with a strong mental health component, integrating cutting-edge techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR), Somatic Experiencing, and Motivational Interviewing. For more information or to start your healing journey, please fill out a contact request form and one of our recovery experts will connect with you shortly.