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Internet Addiction – Digital Addiction?

Internet-addictionIn the 21st Century, our lives are ever dependent on technology to function in day to day life. Practically everyone has a computer or smartphone of some kind, and the amount of time we spend on our electronic devices could be considered unhealthy – especially when it comes to our phones.

Using social media and gaming apps on our phones can be great way to pass the time when in between appointments or responsibilities, but for some, passing the time on a smartphone can become a full time job that doesn’t pay. A large number of people use their phone hundreds of times throughout the day, a habit that can become an addiction.

Experts argue that Internet addiction has become a serious issue, a problem that can have a negative effect on a person’s life, NBC News reports. Psychologists have seen a dramatic rise in patients struggling with digital addiction.

“The negative consequences at their extreme are failing to fulfill social and work obligations,” Karin Kassab explained, a psychologist at Clarity Counseling Center in Wilmington. “These are the Facebook moms who forget to put their kids to bed or forget to pick their kids up from school. The online gamers who are spending so much time gaming that they lose their job and move back home. When we are talking Internet addiction, it is important to note, this is excessive Internet use at its extreme. The tokens are excessive Internet use and big problems at work, school or socially.”

Some experts, including Kassab, are not entirely convinced that digital addictions are real disorders, but rather methods of escape from other mental illness, according to the article. However, she will treat patients who are exhibiting symptoms of digital addiction.

At the moment, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does not classify Internet addiction as a diagnosis for addiction or treatment.

“There’s great debate over whether Internet addiction is actually its own stand alone disorder or if it is a consequence of a co-occurring disorder,” Kassab said. “So, am I depressed therefore that manifests into me staying in, being isolated on the Internet?”

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At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.

Social Media and Addiction Recovery

soberlifeSocial media is an integral part of people’s lives, especially young people who are apt to share with the world what they are about to do, or have already done. It is quite common for young adults to share what took place over the weekend, including parties where excessive drinking took place. On the other end of the spectrum, many young people in addiction recovery use social media to connect with other active members of the community. A new study has examined when social media and recovery line up, TODAY reports.

Recovery.org conducted a study which involved Instagram and getting sober. The novel study tracked various recovery related hashtags (#s), examining over 79,000 posts from all 50 states. The researchers found some interesting results.

The top recovery hashtags in order:

  • #SoberLife
  • #Sobriety
  • #Sober
  • #SoberLiving
  • #AlcoholicsAnonymous
  • #NarcoticsAnonymous
  • #12Steps
  • #WeDoRecover
  • #RecoveringAddict

The top three states that mentioned recovery the most per capita (1:100,000) on social media:

  • Utah 144.4
  • California 70.8
  • Florida 34.3

While Utah mentioned recovery the most on Instagram, it only has the fifth most meetings of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous per capita in the U.S., according to the article. On the other hand, California had nine times as many people in rehab as Utah. The study cannot account for why people in Utah are more active online about recovery.

“In terms of science, we’re at the very beginning of it,” explained Dr. Warren Bickel, director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and founder of the International Quit and Recover Registry. “One of the amazing things about the field of addiction is that we don’t rigorously study people in recovery…and we can learn a lot from them.”

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At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.

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