Cell phone addiction is more common than you might think; we have standardized the use of this electronic device so much that we may not be aware that we are starting to depend on it we spend a good part of the day “glued” to the screen without really needing it.
Statistics tell us that each year the average number of hours spent on cell phones increases and that there is a higher percentage of addicted people. That is why we must monitor and control the use we make of the smartphone, because the symptoms it can generate are similar to those that create any other addiction such as addiction, tolerance or abstinence, causing discomfort. and a loss of functionality in the subject.
In this way, there are sensations or behaviors that can signal us that our mobile use is or is starting to become worrying. If you feel that you can no longer control it, it is advisable to seek professional help; this kind of problem should not be underestimated because it can be just as serious as other disorders.
In this article you will find the main guidelines and ideas on how to tell if you are addicted to cell phone.
What do we mean by cell phone addiction?
Cell phone addiction is an addictive dependence on cell phone use. thus creating a behavioral dynamic which generates great discomfort if one cannot use this electronic device for a few hours. As in the case of addiction due to substance use, experiences such as tolerance will appear in this psychological phenomenon, which in this case consists of the need to use the cell phone for longer and longer; abstinence, in which, after repeatedly using the cell phone, if you cannot access it, unwanted symptoms and discomfort appear; and the dependence which consists of the need to continue using the mobile.
The overlap with all these psychological phenomena is common for the emergence of nomophobia, which is the fear of missing important events that may occur in the “digital mute” to which we have access through the smartphone.
In Spain, in 2020, the average number of hours per day that the population spends using their mobile phones was 4 hours, thus registering an increase of one hour compared to two years ago. Likewise, 22% of the population admit to using their cell phone more than 5 hours a day, and 20.8% say they cannot go without looking at their cell phone for 1 hour.
The prevalence in 2020 indicated that in the general Spanish population, around 25% of subjects between 18 and 65 years old are considered addicted to cellphones, noting that this figure almost doubles if we only take into account the population between 18 and 24 years old. , with 44% and an average of 6 hours and 43 minutes of daily use.
Given the percentages observed and the growing trend that is perceived, the negative consequences that can be given are worrying., because this behavioral dynamic does not allow the subject to mentally disconnect. In addition, one of the most remarkable characteristics of the human being is also affected: socialization. Half of the population says they have more contact with their friends via smartphone than face to face.
How do you know if you have developed a cell phone addiction?
We know that the mobile phone offers us good facilities and has positive functions, but overuse or overuse can have a negative impact on our mental health. If we hardly ever disconnect from technology, we lose the opportunity to communicate in person with our friends, and it ends up being very addicting and uncomfortable when you can’t use the phone. We feel like we can’t live without it.
Here are some signs and behaviors that can serve as alerts to let you know that your cell phone use is being overused and that you may soon have or become addicted to addiction.
1. You feel a loss of control over cell phone use
People addicted to mobile phones feel an inescapable urge to use it. Note that they lose control and they can’t help but use it. We can therefore see that the need is linked to the dependence, the subject feels that he needs to use the telephone and cannot avoid it.
In this case we realize that we cannot control the behavior of using the phone, we almost feel what is happening to the one who controls us, how we are, what things we stop doing …
3. Excessive use of your smartphone
As we have seen, the average daily hours of mobile use are high. One way that can help us determine if we are really abusing it is assess if for this reason we get lost or if we stop making plans with other people or if we do not attend important events, or if we do, we can’t avoid being with the phone in hand most of the time. That is, we realize that there is a loss of commitment and responsibility with our social circle.
4. You are always looking for your cell phone
We realize we are still focusing on mobile; if we don’t watch it, we wait to see if it rings or vibrates, then we are constantly checking to see if we have been told or if there is anything new on social media.
5. You always have your cell phone nearby
In this case the mobile becomes an extension of us, like another part of our body; wherever we go, the device goes, and there cannot be a situation where we don’t have the phone nearby and within reach. A typical behavior is needing to have your cell phone by your side, even when you are eating.
6. It is the first and the last thing you watch when you wake up and when you fall asleep.
For many it is a routine to check their cell phone before getting up and going to bed.. Leaving aside the fact that this nighttime routine is not the most recommended, it may indicate that we are having somewhat problematic behavior with the use of cell phones.
It should also be noted that a study carried out in Spain revealed that 9% of the population wakes up at night to look at their cell phone, which is also a worrying behavior which indicates that there may be an addiction.
7. Your use of the device has increased (not for work or other responsibilities)
We know that we are currently using our cell phones more frequently during the day and that we devote more hours to it; that is, the previous usage time is no longer sufficient and we have to increase it.
8. Feeling uncomfortable, irritable, frustrated or tense when you can’t use it
It is common that when it becomes impossible for us to use the cell phone because, for example, we run out of battery, our mood deteriorates and we are in a bad mood and eager not to be able to use it. In this case, we see that the symptoms that appear are typically related to those presented during abstinence when we stop using what makes us addictive.
9. You have the impression that it sounds or vibrates when it really is not.
By this sign we do not mean an auditory hallucination, but it is more closely related to the degree of stress and attention paid to the cell phone. That is, when you continually think about the phone, being aware, any sound or sensation of vibration is interpreted as something related to our smartphone.
10. You use it even when you shouldn’t not
You risk watching it in situations where it is not allowed, when you should not, and they can get your attention or have other negative consequences. An example of this behavior would be to use the smartphone when we are working or attending classes at school such as school or university.
11. An irrational fear of not being able to use it arises.
Mobile phone addiction is also often linked to the presence of anxiety about the experience of not being able to use this device. This way, for example, we have an excessive fear of running out of battery or leaving our cell phone at home, so it will be common for us to take a charger or leave our cell phone at home, even if we have it. departure is short-lived, we are looking for it.
12. When you try to decrease the usage, you back down
Another behavior that also appears regularly in addictions is tries to give up the habit associated with addiction without success; for this reason, if we are addicted to cell phone, we surely suffer from “relapses” frequently.
How is it treated in therapy?
Like any addictive behavior, cell phone addiction can be treated with psychotherapy.. Going to the psychologist will increase the subject’s self-confidence, develop social and self-control skills that the subject may lack, and help them find other activities that they enjoy that are physically and psychologically healthy. . In addition, in cases of nomophobia, techniques will be used to reduce anxiety, to ensure that cell phone use is reduced and controlled.