Scientists said getting addicted to smartphones to the point of obsession was unhealthy. A new study findings published in the journal ‘Neuro- Regulation,’ suggested that the convenience of smartphones could facilitate overuse and addiction and may increase the chances of users developing anxiety, loneliness and depression.
Likening the overuse of smart phones to any other type of substance abuse, the researchers, suggested that many smartphone users were also addicted to the constant pings, chimes, vibrations and other alerts from the devices, adding that they were unable to ignore new emails, texts and images.
Consequently, Quoting Dr. Erik Peper, a professor of health education at that at San Francisco State University, the ‘PsychCentral’ reported him saying: “The behavioural addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief gradually.”
Moreover, an addiction to social media technology may actually have a negative effect on social connections, the report stated. Dr. Peper and Dr. Richard Harvey, an associate professor of health, found that students who used their phones the most reported higher levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious.
The survey involved 135 San Francisco State students, according to ‘PsychCentral’. Just as individuals can train themselves to eat less sugar, Peper said people could take charge and train themselves to be less addicted to phones and computers.
He consequently suggested turning off push notifications and only responding to email and social media at specific times and scheduling periods with no interruptions to focus on important tasks.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear that can be mild or severe and it could present in many form including panic attacks, anxiety attacks, phobia, and social anxiety, while depression is a mental health disorder characterised by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
The researchers believe the loneliness was partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals could not be interpreted.
They also found that those same students almost constantly multitasked while studying, watching other media, eating or attending class. This constant activity is problematic as it allowed little time for bodies and minds to relax and regenerate.