Do you have any idea how frequently you use your smartphone? As we know, humans are by nature prone to diversion and distraction and now in that era, we have with our smartphone and we have a universe of distractions and interruptions at our fingertips. But now it’s time to admit that our smartphones have lots of negative impacts on our daily lives, mental health, and physical appearance too. The use of smartphones is just as communication tools and for purposeful work but now it takes as free guaranteed and we turn these devices into our amusement.
Smartphone use is just for communication tools, but now these are used for gaming, cameras, health trackers, and so on the list that goes on and we turn smartphone devices for everything. The daunting part about smartphones is, it affects our physical, mental health, and our relationship. The effect of smartphones on the brain is the same as cocaine because we use Smartphones with high instant. While in that case of addiction, we genuinely thank dopamine, that feel-good chemical, and get released every time you do something and give you pleasure such as eating a favorite meal or reaching thousands of likes on your Instagram post. Dopamine reinforces the behavior that helps you to feel good, and then it turns into an addiction.
Usage of the smartphone is omnipresent, and it targeted our mental health rapidly, the affirmation of smartphone dull mental health is still unclear. Still, the meta-analysis (the procedure for combining the data and give multiple studies) investigate the consequence of mental health in teens and adults with high severity symptoms and this prevalent worldwide.
Cell phone addiction:
- The question is, “how do you get to know you are addicted to your smartphone?” When you use a cell phone most of the time, it is ineffectual to cut back on cell phone usage, using cell phones as a solution to weariness and you may feel anxiety or depression when your phone is out of your range. When smartphones become an addiction, then your behavior becomes irritated and stressful, while heavy use of mobile phones leads to physiological and psychological problems. According to researchers, the Salvatore Insignia (neurosurgeon at New York) considered that there is no authentic proof between cell phone radiation and tumor risk, but the probability still exists. Youngsters are at high risk of being Smartphone addicts and dull their mental health because excessive use of Smartphones appears with negative and agitated attitudes, feeling of anxiety, stress, and dependency of air pods increase the risk of anxiety, worries, and depression.
- It is vindicated that adult’s mental health and physical health are correlated with cell phone addiction. But we cannot say it with 100 % precision that mobile phones are the only source of poor mental or physiological health issues in teens and adults because of previous studies and researches that showed dual results. According to current studies, it has come to recognize that there are two schools of thought. Some analyzer or investigator believes that there is a positive alliance between cell phone addiction and the mental health of teens and adults, while some give an opinion that there is a negative or indirect relation between both of them with lots of depression, anxiety, and sometimes committed suicide and the rate of suicidal case increasing day-by-day in that present era the use of smartphone at night also leads insomnia (inability to sleep) and eventually result in depression. After evaluating the previous results, it is concluded that there is a connection between smartphone addiction and mental health and we cannot abandon its adverse effects on health.
What are the signs and symptoms of smartphone addiction?
Even Though smartphone-addiction is not yet listed in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health problems, but following signs and symptoms are the conceptions of containing the criteria for smartphone-addiction, these are
- Continual failed attempts to use smartphones less often.
- Preoccupation and engrossment with smartphone use.
- Turn on the smartphone when experiencing undesirable feelings (such as anxiety and depression).
- High use characterized by loss of senses.
- Loss of relationship or job due to smartphone use.
- Loss of tolerance.
When smartphone network or availability of the internet is unreachable then they also experienced,
- Agitated behavior
Impact of Smartphone on your Mental Health:
You can experience impulse-control issues with a laptop or desktop computer, while the size, benefits, and convenience of smartphones and tablets can take anywhere at any time easily. Most of us are infrequently ever more than 4-5 feet from our smartphones. Just like the use of drugs and alcohol, it can trigger the release of your brain chemical ‘dopamine” and also alter your mood. You can also swiftly build up forbearance, so it takes more and more time in front of these screens to acquire the same delightful reward. According to Korean based research and studies, they compared both the smartphone-addicted youngsters and non-addicted youngsters. Then they recorded addicted youngsters are high in number and they experienced a higher level of anxiety, depression, insomnia, impulsive disorders. Other studies also suggested a link between excessive usage of smartphone usage diminishes all ability to remember, a lack of creative and unique thinking with reduced attention. The impacts of smartphone use on our daily life are,
1. Fueling anxiety
According to previous studies and researches, it is found that the use of a phone in a workplace tends to make people more worried and perform badly on a given task—the excessive a person’s phone use, the greater the anxiety and depression they experienced.
2. Increasing loneliness
While it may appear that losing yourself because the use of a smartphone and continuously online will temporarily make feelings such as sadness, loneliness, depression, weariness, and boredom evaporate into thin air, it can literally make you feel even worse. According to previous studies, the users of smartphones, especially teens and adults, promote feelings of loneliness and depression.
3. Disturbing your sleep
High usage of smartphones may disrupt your sleep, which can have a serious impact on your mental health. It can also impact your memory, affect your aptness and capability to think clearly and decrease your cognitive and learning skills.
4. Increasing stress
Using a smartphone for work frequently means work bleeds into your home and your personal life. You may feel the pressure always to be on, and never out of touch from work. This always needs to check and respond to emails continuously can contribute to higher depression levels.
5. Exacerbating attention deficit disorders
The constant outflow of messages and information from a smartphone can overload the brain and make it impossible to focus or pay attention to any one thing for more than a few minutes without feeling urged to move on to something else.
6. Reducing the ability to concentrate and think profoundly or creatively
The continuing buzzing, ting, or beep of your smartphone can distract you and divert your mind from essential tasks, slow your work, and interrupt those moments that are so pivotal to creativity and problem-solving. Instead of being alone with our thoughts, we’re always online and connected.
Impact of Smartphone on Your Physical health:
Excessive use of smartphone affects your mental health besides that it also impact on your physical appearance,
- Digital eye strain- Due to overuse of smartphone pain, irritation, and discomfort because of continually viewing digital screens and you may experience eye burning and itching, blurry vision, Eye fatigue ness, and headache.
- Neck problems- Excessive smartphone use also refers to neck pain due to continuously looking down at your phone and your phone also contaminated with MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, infection of the skin) and you also experienced painful abscess.
- Car accidents- Most people believe that they can easily multitask and use phones while driving, but this becomes harmful for them and they experienced an accident. Previous studies suggested that texting and driving can be as dangerous as drinking while driving.
- Male infertility-Previous studies have suggested that smartphone radiation may reduce sperm count, sperm motility, and viability.
Physiological Effects of Smartphones on the Brain:
As according to previous studies, smartphone-addicted teens and adults are high in numbers and they mostly experience a higher level of GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter that inhibits or block the brain signal and reduces the ability to think) than different types of neurotransmitter that are able to energize the brain and when these smartphone-addicted teenagers compared with other types of addicted persons (such as alcohol, cocaine, drugs, and gambling), then they have high chances of similarity of mental and physiological problems.
Moreover, other studies found that individuals who routinely use multiple forms of media at once (which are named as chronic multitaskers), they tend to have a smaller gray matter area in the brain that is responsible for top-down attention control (for example, setting a goal and sticking to it) but the good news is that these negative changes are reversible in 12% of teenagers who are suffering from smartphone addiction, undergo cognitive behavioral therapy and after 9-10 weeks of this therapy, GABA level is the comeback to its normal level, while the best way to get rid of this addiction is trying to prevent it.
Modify your smartphone use:
For most people, getting control over their smartphone is not easy because they are addicted, but you should need to use your phone only for work, school, or just to stay in touch with friends. Your goals or objectives should be cut back to more healthy levels of use,
Set objectives for when you can use your smartphone:
You should make a schedule for certain times of day, or you could recompense yourself with a certain amount of time on your phone once you’ve completed a homework assignment or finished an errand, for instance.
1.Turn off your phone:
You should turn off your phone at certain times of the day. Such as when you’re driving, in an important meeting, at the gym, having breakfast or dinner, playing with your kids and also you should n’t take your phone with you to the bathroom
2.Don’t bring your phone to bed:
As we all know, blue light is released by the screens and it can disrupt your sleep if you use it within two hours of sleeping time. It’s better that you turn off your smartphone and leave them in another room overnight. You may not use any Ebooks, movies, or anything else on your phone or tablet at night. Instead of that, you may pick up a book because research shows that it does not calm your mental health while it can also help you to remember more of what you have read.
3.Replace your smartphone use with healthier activities:
If you are feeling bored and lonely, resisting the desire to use a smartphone can be very difficult. You should have a plan for other ways to fill or pass the time (such as meditating, reading a book, any interesting activities, and so on).
If you compellingly check your phone after every minute, wean off by limiting yourself, checks to once every 15 minutes. Then exceed the time limit, once every 30 minutes, then once an hour. If you need help, then there are multiple apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access or check your phone.
5.Remove unnecessary social media apps:
You should remove all unnecessary social media apps from your phone, so you can only check purposeful apps and always remember, what you see on social media is rarely an exact reflection of their lives and it can badly affect your daily life and they mostly experience disappointment. You should try to spend less time on social media that can not disturb your mental health and also help to boost your mood with a sense of self-worth.
6.Curb your fear of missing out:
To control the limitation of smartphone usage, your mind feels relaxed and you’re likely going to invitations, gossip, and family gatherings. As we know, there is lots of information available on the Internet, and it’s impossible to stay on top of everything, anyway. Accepting this can be extricating and help break your dependency on technology.
Treatment for smartphone-addiction:
If you need help to restrict your smartphone use, there are specialized treatment centers that offer digital detox programs for helping you to get rid of digital media and because of the disconnection of this addiction individual and group therapy can give for a tremendous boost in controlling the smartphones and reduce your mental health disorder, these treatments are,
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy-Cognitive behavioral therapy giving step-by-step ways to stop irresistible behaviors and help to change your thinking or perceptions about your smartphone. This behavioral therapy also helps you to learn healthier ways to control uncomfortable emotions (such as stress, anxiety, and depression).
- Marriage or couples counseling.– Excessive use of Internet pornography (books, films, and magazines designed for sexual excitement) or any online affairs is badly affecting your relationship, so the counseling help you work through these challenging problems and help to reconnect with your partner.
- Group support- The organizations named as Internet Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA) and On-Line Gamers which offer online support and also face-to-face meetings to get rid of excessive use of technology. Although, you may need real-life persons to benefit fully from any type of addiction support group. Online groups can help find different sources of assistance, but it is easy to use them as an excuse to spend more time on your smartphone.
Everything has its own pros and cons, but it’s up to you how you can use it and how you can get benefits from it by using it beneficially, just like that smartphone is now becoming an important part of our life. We can’t imagine living without this luxury. Smartphones have their benefits, but besides this, it has multiple disadvantages, which leave a negative impact on human life and totally distract our minds. Excessive use of smartphones has a negative impact on physiologic and psychological health. You should prevent yourself from this worse addiction and try to avoid the use of smartphones, especially when you have breakfast, lunch, dinner, family gathering, and friends zone, you should place your smartphones down and make a strict habit that no one can grab their phones in gathering or at the workplace.