Friday, 22 March 2013

Sorrry but, no. Obessively checking your smartphone isn't 'addiction'


The word addiction is overused - and most often this overuse is misleading if not downright wrong. Here's a good example:

A study of 2,000 US college students revealed that 10 per cent would say that have a full-blown addiction to their handsets, with 85 per cent compulsively checking theirs and three quarters needing to sleep beside it.

So we ask people whether they're addicted to the phone and they tell us they are - and we call this addiction? Truth is that, if you ask people who relaly are addicted - to alcohol, to tobacco or to some other drug - they'll often tell you they aren't addicted.

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

We could argue about this definition but one thing's clear - it doesn't apply to compulsively checking your phone!


No comments: