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Cell Phone Addiction Facts Explained

Understanding the Dangers of Phone Addiction

It's not surprising that phone addiction has become such a prominent problem in the United States. In recent years, the number of people using cell phones has increased dramatically. Android phones, iPhones and other smartphones give people Internet access at any time. Most people are able to use their phones appropriately. Hours may pass before they even look at them. However, for others, it is clear that they have a problem. Many phone addicts don't realize that they have addictions. They live in denial that there is a problem.

Cell Phone Addiction Information

At Northpoint Washington, we are well aware of the issues surrounding smartphone addiction. We know how dangerous it can be. It's important for you to understand it as well. Right now, you may not believe that you have what would be considered an actual addiction. However, it might help you to take a closer look at your own behaviors.

Learning the facts about cell phone addiction will give you a lot of insight into yourself. If you do find that you have an addiction, you can get help to recover.

What is a Cell Phone Addiction?

According to PsychAlive, Dr. David Greenfield calls smartphones the world's smallest slot machine. Dr. Greenfield is a technology expert who has studied cell phone addiction. He says that every so often, the cell phone gives you a reward. These rewards in the form of emails, text messages or other updates. These rewards are surprises, and you don't much about them before they arrive. They may be filled with great news, much like a slot machine will often deliver a jackpot.

Someone who is addicted to their phone experiences a dopamine release when these rewards come through. Cell phone addicts crave these releases; so much so that they can't think about anything else. They may use their phones frequently, without even thinking about it. They think about their phones first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. If their phones go missing, or they can't check them for some reason, it causes a panic.

Experts often refer to this type of dopamine release as a dopamine loop. It just continues for as long as the phone is in the person's hand. It's why checking a text message turns into social media scrolling, and then moves on to using Google. It is an addiction in every sense of the word.

Cell Phone Addiction Statistics Explained

There are a growing number of cell phone addiction articles online. This tells us that smartphone addiction is becoming a very big problem. Both young people and adults are affected by cell phone addictions. There are many statistics to back this up.

For teenagers, according to an article on the CNN website:

  • 50% of teens feel that they are addicted to their mobile devices.
  • 59% of parents believe that their teens are addicted to their phones.
  • Studies show that as many as 26% of adolescents and college students are actually addicted to their phones.
  • 66% of parents feel that their teens spend too much time on their phones.
  • 52% of teens agree with this.
  • 80% of teens check their phones at least once an hour
  • 72% of them feel a need to immediately respond to text messages and other alerts.
  • 36% of parents argue with their children every day about cell phone use.
  • 77% parents feel that their children get too distracted by their phones a few times a week.

As far as adult cell phone addictions go, the statistics aren't much better. They claim that:

  • The average adult looks at his or her cell phone 110 times per day.
  • That works out to be about 9 times per hour.
  • 20% of adults have used their smartphones during sex.
  • 84% of adults cannot go an entire day without their phones in their hands.
  • 44% of adults will check work-related emails while they're on vacation.
  • Half of all adults in the United States sleep with their phones next to them.
  • This is true for 80% of people between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • 68% of people check their work email before 8am.
  • 50% of people check it in bed.
  • 38% of people check it during dinner.
  • 40% of adults check their phones while they're in the bathroom.
  • 12% of adults even use their smartphones in the shower.
  • 55% of people text on their smartphones while they're driving.
  • By 2015, the number of people with cell phones and other mobile devices will exceed the number of people on earth.

Are these statistics shocking for you? Cell phones seem as though they should be relatively benign devices. Unfortunately they are not. While they have improved our lives, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The question is, where do you draw the line between regular cell phone use and addiction? It's important to know the symptoms of phone addiction.

Phone Addiction Symptoms You Should be Aware of

Do you have a cell phone addiction? If you're not sure, it can be helpful to look at some of the symptoms of this process addiction.

Some of the signs of smartphone addiction include:

  • Feeling a need to use the cell phone more and more often.
  • Experiencing failed attempts at using the phone less often.
  • Becoming preoccupied with smartphone use.
  • Using the cell phone as a way to release feelings of anger or depression.
  • Losing track of time because of being on the phone regularly.
  • Putting your job at risk because of using the cell phone too much.
  • Putting relationships at risk because of excessive cell phone use.
  • Always feeling as though you need the newest cell phone.
  • Continually adding new apps to your phone.
  • Using the cell phone in inappropriate situations.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you're not able to use the phone.

Addiction withdrawal symptoms are often associated with drug and alcohol addiction. However, they can be just as real and severe with cell phone addiction. Typical smartphone withdrawal symptoms might even include:

  • Becoming very angry
  • Feeling tension in the body
  • Experiencing depression
  • Becoming irritable
  • Feeling very restless

Are You a Phone Addict? Take a Cell Phone Addiction Test and Find Out

After looking at this list of symptoms, you might be even more convinced that you have a cell phone addiction. However, you're still not completely sure. Many times, people find it helpful to take a cell phone addiction test. By answering a few questions, you can get closer to getting some answers.

Answer the questions below as honestly as you can.

  • Do you feel uncomfortable with the thought of not being able to access your cell phone?
  • If you can't look up information on your smartphone, does that make you feel annoyed?
  • If you're not able to access the news on your phone, do you feel nervous?
  • Does it scare you when the battery starts to drain on your cell phone?
  • Does it make you panic if you reach your monthly data limit?
  • If you don't have a signal or access to WiFi, do you continually check your phone to look for a signal?
  • Do you worry about being stranded somewhere if you can't use your cell phone?
  • Do you feel a strong desire to check your phone if you haven't checked it in a while?
  • Does the thought of not being able to communicate with your friends and family make you anxious?
  • Do you worry about your loved ones not being able to reach you?
  • If you can't receive texts and calls, does that worry you?
  • If you can't access social media on your phone, does it upset you?
  • If someone comments about you spending a lot of time on your phone, does that upset you?
  • Do you think you might not know what to do without your cell phone?

If you answered more than two questions on this test with a yes, you may have a smartphone addiction. If you are addicted to your cell phone, there's no reason to panic. Many people have these addictions. It's important that you know so that you can do something about it.

“My Teen is Addicted to Her iPhone. What Can I Do?”

As a parent, it might make you very scared to think of your child being addicted to a cell phone. This situation doesn't have to be out of your hands. There are many things you can do to help her break this addiction.

  • Download a phone addiction app: The BreakFree App is an app that will monitor cell phone usage. It will then give you a daily score. You can even set it to give you a notification when you've used your phone too much.
  • Remove the phone from the bedroom: There's no reason for teenagers to have their phones in their bedrooms. This can cut down on a lot of cell phone usage.
  • Delete games and apps: Your teen might have a hard time with this, but deleting apps is effective. Many of the apps and games she has are probably unnecessary.
  • Give your child a schedule: Set aside certain times of the day that are just for smartphone use. This will effectively cut down on screen time.
  • Consider a digital detox: It might seem extreme, but sometimes extreme measures are needed. Schedule a weekend that involves no technology at all. This will give your child a refreshing break from her cell phone.

Getting Cell Phone Addiction Treatment for Recovery

Sometimes people need to get professional treatment for cell phone addictions. If they are severe enough, this type of treatment is warranted. Talking with an addiction treatment specialist will help you understand the type of help that's right for you.

Outpatient treatment may be an excellent option for you. However, don't be surprised if you're recommended for inpatient treatment. Inpatient cell phone addiction help will successfully remove you from your addiction. This is absolutely needed in order for recovery to take place.

While you're in treatment, you'll learn so much about your addiction. There may be underlying issues there that you're not aware of. It's possible that you suffer from depression or anxiety. You may have been using the cell phone so much to help yourself feel better. If this is the case, dual diagnosis treatment might be something that will work well for you.

When one or more addictions or conditions are present at once, this is called having co-occurring disorders. You'd be surprised how common this is.

Do You Have a Phone Addiction? Get the Help You Need Today

Now that you have more information, you may be very concerned about having a cell phone addiction. You're right to be concerned. Smartphone addictions can quickly take over your life. It doesn't take long before the phone becomes more important to you than anything. So many people have experienced broken relationships, job loss and other problems because of phone addictions. That's not something that you want to live through.

The most important thing you can do for yourself is to get the help you need. It might seem strange to you to think about going to rehab for your phone addiction. However, with today's technological advances, these devices have become incredibly addictive. These addictions are very much like other types of addictions, such as to drugs and alcohol. Phone addictions need professional treatment.

At Northpoint Washington, we've worked with many people with cell phone addictions. We know how devastating they can be, and we've watched people suffer because of them. That's not something we want to wish upon anyone. If you have a smartphone addiction, we can assist you in reaching your recovery goals.

There's no need to continue to allow a cell phone addiction to run your life. Are you interested in learning more about smartphone addiction treatment? Please contact us and we'll help you understand the type of help you need.