How Does My Cell Phone Addiction Affect My Relationships, as well as my Mental Health?
By Georgianna Donadio, MSc., PhD.
Most of us are aware of how our relationship with our cell phones has taken
over the function and quality of our lives. We are currently seeing approximately 80% of Americans owning cell phone and using them as their all in one “life pod” for doing everything from working to dating.
It’s not that we just “own” our phones, many of us are owned by our phones. The amount of screen time we spend daily is staggering. Americans average nearly five and a half hours per day on our smartphones with younger aged Americans spending closer to six hours per day
Does this mean we are all hopelessly addicted to our cell devices? It doesn’t necessarily mean that, but when the frequency and concentration of our using our phones interferes with the quality of our lives that becomes a concern that should be addressed.
Some ways of knowing if your phone is taking over your time and live quality is to answer these questions:
> Are you running out of time to perform your daily tasks even though you have hours a day to spend on your phone?
- Is being separated from or not having your phone with you cause you anxiety or a fear that you are missing out on messages or news items?
> Have your friends or favorite hobbies taking second place to your cell phone use?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the foremost reference book for counselors and therapists, DSM-5 is already linking phone addiction with many of the behaviors demonstrated by gambling addicts.
Loneliness, sleep disruption, depression, stress and anxiety, impaired ability to focus, and self-absorption are just some of the symptoms of cell phone over use.
Excessive smartphone use seems to encourage narcissistic behavior even in people who are not classed as narcissists
If you have a cell phone addiction you may prioritize your cell time over your time spent in person with your friends and family it is critical that you begin to focus on your self-care and re-establish health habits and patterns regarding the use of your phone. Cell phone obsession has become so prevalent that often people have to ask their friend or relative to put their phone away if they want to spend time with them. One of the worst manifestations we have all witnessed is when you see adults and small children eating out at a restaurant and everyone is on their cell phone and not speaking with our even looking at one another!
Too much of a good thing can become toxic, and over use of cell phones can take away from your overall whole health. Take the time to evaluate your phone
usage and patterns and make some healthy changes today!