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The same question can be asked of someone who is addicted to harmful and deadly drugs. Why and how do we get addicted to something which is so bad for us? Why can’t we stop? Don’t we know we should stop? In the case of spending too much time interacting with our phones, there is an answer: positive feedback loop.

Research is piling up which proves that spending too much time interacting with our phones is bad for our mental health. It isn’t just what we’re doing on our phones, like social media or playing games, but how often we turn to our phones. We pick up, unlock, and look at our phones many many times a day. Each time we interact with our phones, we are reinforcing a positive feedback loop that causes us anxiety. The bottom line is that spending too much time interacting with our phones is causing us anxiety. Unfortunately, we have programmed our brains to turn to a single behavior to cope with the anxiety of spending too much time on our phones: spending more time on our phones.

Dr. Nancy Cheever of California State University, Dominguez Hills, told ABC News that “The more people use their phone the more anxious they are about using their phone.” Though using the phone is causing anxiety, it is the positive feedback of turning to the phone for coping with anxiety which keeps the behavior repeating itself. Using our phone more keeps us in a state of anxiety which inspires us to continue using our phone more.

Phones are a symptom, not a problem

Our widespread problem with technology addiction is not a problem in itself but a symptom of other problems we are facing. Addiction and alcoholism are also symptoms, rather than primary problems. The authors of Alcoholics Anonymous recognized this in the 1920s. “Our liquor was but a symptom,” they wrote before explaining how it is necessary for anyone in recovery to find out what contributed to the need to abuse alcohol.

Most people experience trauma in their lives. People may not be turning to their phones as a response to trauma, necessarily. However, people seem to have more difficulty coping with the responsibilities and pressures of life today than in the past. We are turning to our phones to cope with stress, and, as Dr. Cheever pointed out, that is causing us stress, and we turn to our phones to cope with that stress. Technology addiction is a symptom of a stress millions of people are facing in their lives- stress which is external to their phones, but internal to the process of using their phones.

Everyone has a story of trauma before they come treatment. Everyone leaves with a story of recovery when they leave treatment. The Guest House Ocala is a private treatment center specializing in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Your program of care is customized according to your specific experiences and needs. Our luxury amenities provide the highest level of quality care and comfort so you feel safe, supported, and serene. Call us today for information: 1-855-483-7800