5 Signs That You Have a Technology Addiction
1) At the dinner table, you can’t eat without looking at a screen
2) The first thing you do in the morning before even talking to someone is picking up your device.
3) People have complained to you, more than once, that you aren’t listening to them because you are “device distracted”
4) Family members have said, “can you look at me while I am talking?”.
5) Your children or yourself have a meltdown if they can’t have access to their device.
A couple sits in a high-end restaurant, relaxing for the first time in weeks since becoming new parents. Their child safely with a sitter, they stare down at the table, faces stone, not saying a word to each other. In any other era, anyone would have said they had just been in an argument, but in recent years it simply means they are both on their phones.
When we think of addiction, we typically think of things like cigarettes or alcohol. Technology is so indoctrinated into our lives that it is hard to think of it as an addiction, yet psychologists and other health professionals are beginning to recognize it as a real problem.
What is a technology addiction?
We all need some amount of technology to lead a normal life. Using computers at work is often unavoidable, and we use our phones to help coordinate schedules with work, family, and friends. These are all normal and healthy behaviors, and to a certain extent so playing games and checking social media.
When checking your phone or playing games begins to take over your daily life, however, using technology tips over into addiction. If you choose to stay home and play video games instead of going to a party, or you are constantly scanning your social media at a party instead of being in the moment, you may be addicted.
Did you know in extreme cases, people have even died from their addictions? Two gamers have already passed away this year in Taiwan from excessive gaming, and some parents have even let their infants starve to death because they were too focused on their screens. What a world!
Of course, most of us don’t go to these extremes with our technology, but we also can’t seem to put our phones down, even giving up on experiences rather than simply having them. How many of us have gone to an event with our kids, only to see every moment through the eye of a camera, or clicking away on our phones? At concerts today you can’t even see the stage through the sea of extended arms holding phones.
Combating technology addiction
Despite overwhelming evidence that technology addiction can and does, there is no formal diagnosis of technology addiction. The closest is internet gaming disorder, which has been marked for study, but not yet been researched. This doesn’t mean that technology addiction doesn’t exist, simply that no research has been done on the topic yet.
If you’re concerned about screen addiction for yourself or your loved ones, there are several options that can help you make a healthier approach to technology. These include giving yourself specific guidelines to go by
- Avoid using your cell phone while eating. Chick Fila even had at one time, time out boxes for cell phones on the tables in the restaurant.
- For an hour before bed, and any time during the night.
- For children, pediatricians recommend no more than 2 hours of screen time per day, and none except for video chatting with children under the age of 18 months.
We don’t need to get rid of technology in order to live a fulfilled and happy life, but we do need to remember to look up from our screens and live the life that is going on right in front of us..
Parents, couples, and children will all benefit if we take this electronic intrusion seriously in the coming years.
Contact Steven Brand LCSW if you would like to set up an appointment for psychotherapy counseling in Roswell.
Facts about the Opioid Problem in Atlanta
If you haven’t heard about the heroin and opioid crisis in your subdivision or neighborhood yet, then consider yourself lucky. It’s everywhere and it’s spreading.
In 2015, heroin and opioid drugs killed more people in counties inside ‘The Triangle’ than murders and car accidents combined in 2015. That is a statistic you can’t look away from. Overall in the past 7 years, heroin-related deaths have gone up almost 4000% in Fulton, Dekalb, Cobb and Gwinnett Counties. Death it seems has come to the burbs and most of these deaths occurred in Atlanta’s northern wealthy suburbs.
“Ninety percent of the people who initiate heroin use are white males between the ages of 18 and 25,” says Kevin Baldwin, an author of a new study focused on the opioid problem in Atlanta. “In more affluent areas, people are starting [even] younger.”
Sadly for many families of these new addicts, they were regular kids from average families with no obvious clues that they were at risk for addiction. Growing up they were teenagers engaged in community and sports but somehow, someway opioids were introduced and everything changed. Don’t be fooled, these drugs aren’t like the ones in the 1970s that we remember. The increased quality and strength of these latest drugs make addiction (or sadly even death) after one use easily possible. Regular kids can become addicts overnight.
Locally 11Alive and AJC have covered the problem:
How Did It Begin?
Purdue Frederick the makers of Oxycontin, an opioid prescribed drug for pain came onto the market in 1996. They did a huge campaign getting the word out at pain conferences. Their next step was a reward system that gave doctors a $3K bonus for successfully sharing their stories. And it just kept growing from there.
Doctors have always known that certain pain medications were addictive, however, there were strict limits on who was allowed to receive them, for example only terminal cancer patients were recipients at one time. But the makers of these opioids (Oxy) insisted this was different. By the year 2000, 70,000 physicians were on board prescribing it. No longer was it illegal to help people with their “pain”.
By 2011, addiction specialists were trying to fight the cresting tide. It was too late.
Within the next several years, the cost of prescription painkillers would reach $18 billion annually in the US. There would be 92,000 opioid poisoning visits to hospital emergency rooms at a national cost of about $1.4 billion, and nearly 19,000 overdose deaths.
The facts started to come in. A study in the UK showed that people were worse off after 6 months of being on Oxycontin. Similar studies in other countries showed the same. Opioids are addictive because it retrains the brain the threshold of happiness to where you only feel normal being on it. And to go off of it makes you depressed. From there the gateway to heroin is simple.
Fact: Those addicted to prescription opiates like oxycodone are 40 times more likely to develop a heroin abuse problem. Oxycodone is a pain-relieving drug that is prescribed frequently to address moderate to severe pain.
The Good News
Today every doctor in Georgia must get training on proper prescribing of opioids under a rule approved very recently by the Georgia Composite Medical Board.
I would actually say if there is any addiction in your background, to absolutely refuse going on an opioid, even under a hospital situation. Once your body is on it, it’s so hard to get off. It’s not worth it.
Colleges are a new breeding ground for potential addicts.
The deadly opioid epidemic sweeping the country has largely spared college campuses, but drug abuse experts warn administrators they should be paying closer attention.
“This is a time when young adults have more access to substances than ever before and have more economic leverage and legal protections,” said Dr. Joseph Lee, medical director for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Youth Continuum in Minnesota.
Want to learn more about the opioid problem in Atlanta? Coming up in Woodstock is an open forum on Monday October 2nd addressing the growing problem in Cherokee County.
Thanks for reading. If opioids has affected you or your families life and you are looking for counseling in Roswell, GA please contact me.