Technology addiction is a relatively new concern that affects millions of Americans. It can be compulsive online shopping, excessive video game playing, and seemingly endless scrolling through Instagram or Facebook.
Years ago, scientists debated whether technology addiction was a true issue, but continuous research has shown it is a real disorder that can harm a person’s life. Technology addiction affects about 8.2 percent of the population.
Technology addiction expert and licensed clinical social worker Amy Pfeffer of Orchard Park, New York, recently discussed five signs of technology or video game addiction.
Types of Technology Addiction
First, Pfeffer outlined a few of the many types of technology addiction, including addiction to video games, social media, texting, online auctions, online gambling, and more. She stated that these addictions are varied and unpredictable, but the people engaging in them find them incredibly stimulating. This facilitates their return time and time again, even if they prefer to stop.
Technology addictions affect the day-to-day performance of an individual. They prevent people from achieving more essential tasks and distract them from fulfilling areas of life. Technology addiction can be incredibly dangerous, especially if the person is driving while engaging in social media, video games, and more.
Signs of Technology Addiction
According to Amy Pfeffer of Buffalo, the signs of technology addiction may be difficult to notice at first. However, it’s essential for people to be aware of the symptoms of such addictions, so they can help themselves and others.
Individuals dealing with technology addiction may show mood changes. These changes may be especially evident when they don’t have access to technology.
Lack of Control
The addicted individual may be unable to control the amount of time they spend using technology. This can be seen through excessive scrolling, endless hours of video game playing, and more.
A significant sign that someone is addicted to technology is that they show withdrawal symptoms when they don’t have access. This can surface in the form of mood changes, irritability, lethargy, depression, and other negative mental or physical health effects.
Addicted individuals often dedicate all of their time to pursuing time spent using technology. They will sacrifice sleep to spend more time online, playing video games, or using technology in other ways.
Loss of Interest
Individuals addicted to technology will likely lose interest in other important aspects of life. They won’t pursue social relationships, may not show up to work, or will quit activities they were once passionate about. Losing interest in things that don’t involve technology or the internet is a clear sign of addiction.
Negative Impacts of Technology Addiction
Technology is constantly advancing, which means technology addiction becomes more prevalent daily. The impacts of this addiction are mental, physical, and social.
Technology use releases dopamine, a feel-good hormone in the brain. As technology use increases, technology users crave the dopamine release more and more. This leads to even more technology use.
Unfortunately, excessive technology use can also affect the brain in other ways. The following are a few additional ways excessive use of video games, laptops, smartphones, and more can negatively affect the brain:
- Reducing gray and white brain matter, affecting concentration, problem-solving skills, information processing, and more
- Confusing the brain’s concept of day and night
- Shrinking the hippocampus and cerebrum, which regulate learning, thinking, recognition, long-term memory, and more
- Reduced impulse control
Fortunately, technology users can overcome this addiction through various evidence-based treatment programs.
Amy Pfeffer and Technology Addiction
Amy Pfeffer is a licensed clinical social worker certified in technology addiction. One of her main focuses is helping individuals overcome technology addiction to lead happier and healthier lives with the ones they love.
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