Phone Addiction: Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
- Smartphone addiction
- Cell phone addiction
- Mobile addiction
- Nomophobia (fear of being without a mobile phone)
Signs of Phone Addiction
- Reaching for your phone the moment you’re alone, bored, anxious, or have a minute of downtime.
- Checking your phone first thing in the morning (or even in the middle of the night).
- Feeling anxious, panicked, upset, or short-tempered when you can’t get to your phone or respond to notifications immediately.
- Opening certain apps numerous times per day, even if you recently checked them.
- Spending more and more time on your phone.
- Using your phone in inappropriate places like the bathroom, church, the dinner table, or while driving.
- Regularly choosing phone interactions over face-to-face interactions.
- Feeling as though your phone interferes with your job performance, school work, or relationships.
- Getting defensive or upset when people express concern over your phone use.
- Trying to hide your smartphone use from others.
- Continuing to use your cell phone excessively despite negative consequences (depression, anxiety, lost time, trouble completing tasks, etc.)
- Poor sleep.
- Reduced ability to concentrate and think deeply or creatively.
- When you try to limit your use, you relapse quickly.
- Wanting to use your phone less and knowing it’s not a healthy behavior, but you can’t seem to stop.
Causes and Risk Factors of Phone Addiction
- Having an existing mental health condition, such as anxiety, depression, or OCD
- Having a high chronic stress load
- Excessive alcohol use
- Social phobia
- Experiencing traumatic or stressful life events, especially in close succession
- Experiencing trauma in childhood
How Phone Addiction is Diagnosed
How Phone Addiction is Treated
Making Practical Changes
- Using phone apps that track screen time or block apps you wish to avoid.
- Making rules for yourself around your phone usage.
- Don’t charge your phone near your bed.
- Change your phone settings (i.e. turn off notifications, set a longer passcode, remove distracting apps from your home screen, set screen to black and white, etc.)
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Meditation and Mindfulness
How We Approach Phone Addiction
At re-origin, we approach phone addiction as a limbic system impairment. Phone addiction occurs when the limbic system is stuck in a chronic stress response, which can lead to a conditioned cycle of behavior and reward.
The good news is that you can retrain your brain to break excessive smart phone use. At re-origin, we focus on addressing the root cause of phone addiction: an impaired limbic system. By interrupting faulty neural pathways in the brain and calming the overactive stress response, you can make a full recovery.
Using specific neurocognitive exercises, re-origin helps you systematically work to create new, healthy neural pathways and get back to a place of safety and balance where normal, healthy phone use can resume. After rewiring your brain, a “ping” from your cell phone won’t trigger the immediate need to check your phone. Instead, you’ll be able to realize that it’s not urgent and settle back into a balanced, relaxed state. Your compulsions to check your phone every spare moment will also fall away, as your brain will no longer be conditioned to seek the reward of checking your phone.
re-origin’s approach does not chase or mask symptoms, but rather works to rewire the part of the brain (the limbic system) that is causing the dysfunction, resulting in long-lasting recovery. The program is easy to follow, self-directed, cost-effective, and takes just minutes a day to implement.
How to Live and Cope with Phone Addiction
Frequently Asked Questions
A Final Word from re-origin
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