Cell phone dependence syndrome cause some mobile phone users to exhibit behaviors related to substance use disorders. These include preoccupation with cell phone usage, spending excessive money or time spent on them or using cell phones in socially or physically inappropriate situations such as when engaged in social interaction with other, in classrooms or similar settings and when driving.
According to a growing number of studies, cell phones are addictive and this addiction is linked to some serious mental health risks.
An early study in the U.S. had young people give up their phones and found that they performed worse on mental tasks when they were in withdrawal and felt physiological symptoms like increased heart rate and blood pressure. They also felt a sense of loss, or lessening, of their extended self—their phones.
Another recent study looked at the rise in depression and suicide in teenagers which according to the Center for Disease Control has risen in the rates over the years 2010-2015. It found that girls were particularly at risk; their suicide rate rose by 65 percent in five years and the number of girls with severe depression rose by 58 percent.
They found there is a correlation between mental health issues and a rise in “new media screen activities.” About 48 percent of those who spent five or more hours a day on their phones had thought about suicide or made plans for it. For those who spent only an hour a day on their phones the figure was only 28 percent. Authors of the study couldn't positively say that the use of cell phones caused the increase in mental health issues, but that was by far the biggest change in teens' lives between since 2010. Researchers also found that teenagers who spent more time doing sports, homework, socializing with friends face to face or going to church had a lower risk for both depression and suicide.
Instagram and snapchat are dangerous pastimes because they give the appearance of social interaction, but the problem is that looking at other people’s lives online is often misleading because often their posts have been edited or are scripted to make things look better.
Cell phone addiction functions very similarly to gambling addiction. The internet, twitter and texting can give instant gratification. Cell phones, like slot machines, operate on a variable reinforcement schedule which means every once in a while you get a reward… a piece of information, a text, an email, an update or something that is pleasurable. Like gambling, you don't know when or how much. This is highly addictive because the idea and the neurobiological expectation it sets up is you are going to get a reward, you just don't when how how much.
These little rewards trigger a dopamine release. Dopamine controls the pleasure centers in our brain and when it's released, it feels good and makes us want more.
Addiction is a combination of two things.
1) an abuse or dependency on a substance or behavior that is beyond our control and outside the realm of reasonable use.
2) it must be impact our life in some negative way.
Other things are also necessary in order meet the criteria for addiction.
1) Increased Tolerance: Needing more time on the phone, updated technology or new apps to get the fix.
2) Withdrawal: Feeling ill at ease or anxious when away from the cell phone.
3) Mood Altering: Using technology to alter one's mood or change their state of mind. For example, sending texts when feeling a bit depressed or turning to an iPhone game when feeling anxious.
For those wanting to break the addiction or use their cell phones less there are even an apps for that! They monitor phone usage then give you a daily score and even notify you if you have been on the phone too long.
Addicts are advised not to sleep with their phone. Using the phone within an hour of bedtime leads to poorer sleep quality and more insomnia. Also, checking the phone upon awakening reinforces the habit for the rest of the day. When people want to cut back on cell phone use, they have to stop using apps like addictive games. Scheduling time throughout the day to go phone free will also help.
7 Scary Things You Never Knew About Cell Phone Addiction