Think about the last time you lost your cellphone. How did you feel? Anxious? Nervous? Maybe even a little irritable? Was it difficult to function and accomplish tasks? If so, you may have a problem with cellphone addiction, and you may have been experiencing withdrawals.
According to addictionandrecovery.org, emotional addiction withdrawal symptoms — regardless of the addiction — include “anxiety, restlessness, irritability, headaches, poor concentration, depression and social isolation.” All of these are common not only among drug or alcohol addicts, but among avid cellphone users as well.
While the idea of “cellphone addiction” is laughable to some, a thorough look reveals that the similarities and consequences of the two are surprisingly similar. Take, for instance, this paragraph, found on the Mayo Clinic's drug abuse website. Feel free to replace the word “drug” with “cellphone” to gain a little insight.
“Most drug addictions start with casual or social use of a drug. For some people, using the drug becomes a habit, and its use becomes more and more frequent. As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug just to feel good. As your drug use increases, you may find that it becomes increasingly difficult to go without the drug.”
As for the consequences, a University of Utah study that compared the impacts of cellphone use and drivers intoxicated at the .08 legal limit found that, “When controlling for driving difficulty and time on task, cellphone drivers exhibited greater impairment than intoxicated drivers.”
Why, then, is the idea of cellphone addiction not getting more attention? According to cellphoneaddiction.org, “Cellphone addiction seems less serious because frequent cellphone use is so common and cellphones themselves are viewed as necessary in the postmodern technological age.”
The website, which includes a variety of articles on cellphone addiction, continues: “Cellphone marketers create television ads that put a humorous and lighthearted spin on consumers’ obsession for the latest app or the newest model. Addiction may be devastating for the addict, but it benefits the companies that make the products and features that deliver the 'fix.'”
So what do you do if you feel that you’re addicted? According to the site, while a 12-step program probably isn’t necessary, the process does start with recognizing a problem.
“If your cellphone use is addictive, the first thing you have to do is admit it. ... Once you’ve passed that hurdle, keep track of how much time you spend using your cellphone. Record what you’re actually doing with this time: how much of it is of legitimate benefit to you, your loved ones and your work.”
Like most addictions, denying a problem is common among addicts. Which brings up one final question/comparison: Do you have a cellphone addiction problem?
Brandon Comstock is an instructor of religion at Hurricane High School seminary. He and his wife have two little boys, and are expecting a daughter this week.
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