When most people think of the word addiction, their thoughts automatically turn to substances such as alcohol or drugs. Some will think of activities such as gambling, but the truth is that it is possible to become addicted to almost anything. And these days, in the world of technology in which we live, it is no surprise that more and more youngsters are developing addictions to devices such as their smartphones or mobile tablets.
There have been recent concerns that a number of young people are developing a condition known as text neck, which is causing curvature of the spine as they spend hours at a time hunched over their devices. However, 21-year-old student Michelle Gore has teamed up with charity Fixers to warn individuals about another health problem related to technology addiction.
Spending up to 23 hours in a day online, Michelle was diagnosed with a rare condition and wants to warn others so that they can avoid the same condition. She said, I was never without my phone or some other device because I couldnt bear to miss out on updates from apps like Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp… Before I went to bed, Id play games on my PlayStation or Xbox or watch Netflix. Just so I didnt miss out, Id leave my phone on all night in case a message came through.”
Her addiction became so bad that she asked for a waterproof phone for Christmas so that she could continue to check social media while in the shower. However, on Boxing Day 2014, Michelle woke up wrapped up in cables from the many devices she had been using before falling asleep. She said she then realised that this isnt normal.
In January 2015, Michelle began to experience shooting pains in her chest and back, and her doctor diagnosed a rare condition known as Tietze disease, which causes inflammation of the costal cartilage. Costal cartilage is used by the body to help with the extension of the ribs. The inflammation was causing the chest pain. Michelle said, It came as a real shock but luckily it was the wake-up call I needed to sort myself out.
Michelle weaned herself off her gadgets by limiting the amount of time she spent on them, and she is now working alongside Fixers, a young persons charity, to warn others of the dangers of such an addiction.
Addressing the Problem
According to Dr Richard Graham, who is a consultant adolescent psychiatrist, it is impossible to prevent people from using technology because it is everywhere. This makes this particular addiction different to other addictions where abstinence is the answer, such as a gambling, drug or alcohol addiction. He added, They must learn to establish a healthy relationship with technology, and that is the crux of the treatment. Sleep and cognitive behavioural therapy are peripheral treatments that treat conditions that can sometimes co-exist with technology addiction.
He said that the need to constantly feel plugged in in order to prevent missing out is causing a growing number of young people to develop technology addictions.
Help for Addiction
Here at Rehab Helper, we understand that addiction is more than just a problem for drug and alcohol users. We help those with all types of addictions to understand their illness and to access the help they need to overcome their problems.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to technology or anything else, you can contact our advisors today for information and advice. We can provide you with a comprehensive assessment and subsequently put you in touch with the most suitable treatment provider for your requirements. Call today for more information.