Early in the morning, my eyes struggle to open. I rub my eyes, stretch my limbs, and with purpose reach out to the side table. Can’t find it. I open my eyes forcefully with a pang of fear. Where is my phone? (not realizing but it is going towards addiction)
I’m walking on the street, and there is a pothole. Now I am walking on the street, just more carefully. Yet, I fall. I hear a crack sound. The realisation dawns, I have broken something. My first thought? “Please God, it's my leg and not my phone”. Such a strong addiction it is becoming you see.
I am in the middle of a conversation with some guests at my place. I am enjoying the conversation, yet there is a crippling desire to check my phone, even if it is just for a second. I know there isn’t anything important in my phone that requires my attention, but… I pick my phone under the pretence of checking the time, unlock it, compulsively check WhatsApp and Instagram and lock it. Wait, I don’t think I remember the time, did I even see it? What is it? Not an addictive disorder I hope.
Wait, am I addicted to my phone? Is it some sort of a deadly addiction? How can I stop? What should I do? I am scared of the possibility of being addicted to my phone. What should I do? I check my phone.
Addiction is commonly defined as a brain disorder with a continuous urge of compulsive engagement in things despite adverse consequences. Psychology Today’s simplified addiction definition would be - When a person engages in an activity that gives the person some amount of pleasure but cannot stop doing it, even to the detriment of everyday living (such as work, hobbies, finances, family etc.), and health and wellbeing suffer as a result, this behaviour would be considered an addiction. According to the best psychologists in delhi addiction meaning can be understood by this example, people addicted to alcohol would go to the lengths of risking their lives, their relationship with their family (Substance abuse is the most common example of alcohol addiction side effects), not to forget their own health and wellbeing just so that they drink.
Addiction may be alcohol addiction, opioids addiction, drug addiction, in copious amounts or excessive behaviours like gambling. However, of late, people have developed an addiction to social media and their mobile phones too! Among people in the 18-22 years of age bracket, 22% of smartphone users admitted to checking their devices every few minutes. If that doesn’t spell phone addiction, what does?
However, more often than not, people are addicted to substances and substance abuse or overdose has cost many people their lives. According to a report by the World Health Organisation, over 180 thousand deaths reported across the globe were directly linked to substance abuse.
Psychologists say, In today’s time, the subject of addiction has become extremely sensitive and complicated. While many causes of addiction have been found, there are many that remain unresearched. Is addiction or addictive behaviour or addictive disorders only the result of chemical imbalances, family upbringing and history, effects of lifestyles, demographics or, to address the elephant in the room, is it also a result of personal failing?
At the root of any addictive behaviour or addiction usually lies excessive stress and a staunch desire to escape into something less bitter, says Dr.R.K.Suri. The alcohol addiction or any other drug addiction or behaviour like gambling gives the person something to channel their energy and attention to while giving them the much needed “high” or “kick”.
However, these distractions can only be temporary and the problem usually kicks in when the effect of the respective substance fades away and the person is left at the mercy of ruthless reality that he/she can not escape anymore. That’s when the idea of continued consumption strikes. The brain secretes dopamine during healthy and happy activities but compulsive consumption of substances or addictive behaviours like shopping, gambling etc. cause the brain to release the dopamine while also making it harder for the brain to reabsorb it, thus making the effect of the activity last relatively longer. Research by psychologists in India also showed that many addicts view the respective substance as a sort of their only friend who helps them through the tough times.
Addiction is not something to be taken lightly and needs to be treated by appropriate professionals. Dr.R.K.Suri is the best psychologist in India for addiction treatment.
The Association for Psychological Science writes that only between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of people who use drugs actually develop an addiction. While we cannot completely blame the existence of the substance itself for addiction, we cannot blame the consumer either. That is not to say that no one is responsible for it. As humans, we are responsible for our own choices and decisions and at the end of the day, it is left up to us, whether we use it or abuse it!
Intern at Psychowellness Center