Do You Have a Smartphone Addiction?

girl texting photo

My husband reaches for his smartphone first thing in the morning–he’s a news addict. I’m pretty proud when I get through yoga and meditation first before scrolling through Instagram and checking my email. So it begs to question: Do you have a smartphone addiction?

It is in fact, a point of debate amongst psychiatrists which leads into the larger issue. Are behavioral addictions really comparable to drug addictions? Many psychiatrists contend that behavioral addictions like gambling don’t alter one’s mood like alcohol or cocaine addictions.

“Now, the thinking has changed,” David Gorelick, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore said to The Washington Post. With the most recent version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, problematic gambling has been moved into the same section as substance use disorders.

The underlying issues are the same with drug and behavioral addictions. Addicts are going for that higher state and they don’t have control over their behavior. However, it’s not that cut and dried.

“Addiction does not equal ‘something you do a lot,’ ” Stuart Gitlow, a psychiatrist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said to The Washington Post. And people who read a lot do not have their behavior judged as negative. But with cellphones, Gitlow says, “we’ve undergone such a rapid transition that the perception is different.”

People tend to show the most addictive behavior toward social media apps like Instagram and Pinterest. But smartphone addictions aren’t listed as a real disorder at this time. And it’s likely that most of us who reach for our smartphones first thing in the morning are dealing with a bad habit more than anything else.

Wanna change your smartphone ways? Most bad habits are caused by a combination of stress and boredom. Instead of eliminating your bad habit, replace it with a good habit. Instead of checking Instagram first thing in the morning do something positive that you love to do. Read a book, go to yoga, drink some coffee, or write in your journal.

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Image: Michele Ursino