Photo: Kimery Davis
Before making the separation or even confusing a habit from an addiction we need a starting place. The Meriam Webster defines habit as a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. On the other hand addiction is a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (for example heroin, nicotine, alcohol and more) characterized by tolerance accompanied by specific physiological symptoms due to withdrawal.
One of the most addicting activities people are carrying out nowadays is the never-ending use of smartphones. As it turns out this is very recent and what differentiates this device from traditional addictive substances it is not introduced into the body. Rather the cognitive, visual and multi-touch capabilities have triggered habits-not to mention addictive behaviors of not been able to stop from using these nifty devices hours at a time.
58 percent of smartphone users cannot go more than one hour without checking their mobile. Ownership for each cohort varies by age and they are as follows:
- 68 percent of users ages 18 to 34 own a smartphone
- 61 percent of users ages 35 to 44 own a smartphone
- 55 percent of users ages 45 to 54 own a smartphone
- 36 percent of users ages 55 plus own a smartphone
The statistics above clearly indicate various segments of the population are exponentially adopting and buying a multi-touch mobiles. In addition, it is estimated according to the visual illustration there are 6.8 billion smartphones around the globe and 3.2 billion people who own them.
Even though there is plenty of research, treatments and rehabilitation programs smartphones are becoming a new form of addiction. According to a UK-based Ofcoms in a titled study “A nation addicted to smartphones” exactly 37 percent of adult participants confirmed they were extremely addicted to their smartphone.
A psychologist and author, David Greenfield, was found quoted in a Lifehack analysis how to “Get Over Your Smartphone” that computer technologies can be addictive because they´re psychoactive, alter mood and often trigger enjoyable feelings. It’s important to point out smartphones affect human behavior externally. Unlike alcohol or drugs they have to be introduced into the human body by way of ingestion.
Alcohol impact and costs to the economy
In the U.S excessive alcohol consumption is now the third leading preventable cause of death in the country. In addition it is a public health problem and a heavy economic cost that affects the following:
- Premature death
- Lost productivity
- Increases in disease and injury
- Costs of health care
- Alcohol-related crime
- Fetal alcohol syndrome-related special education
- Property damage from fire and motor vehicle crashes
It is safe to say that alcoholism and excessive use of smartphones are nothing short of an epidemic giving the numbers. Using a smartphone can be just as addictive as harmful substances like alcohol for instance. In the case of the United States (U.S), excessive alcohol use is responsible for approximately 88,000 deaths and costs $223.5 billion as of 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Mobile Devices and Addiction
Studies conducted continue to prove there is a very strong correlation between these devices and the addicting behavior they trigger for individuals irrespective of the culture or country in question. According to an Androidauthority.com report Baylor University study asserted smartphones can be as addicting as drugs and alcohol for some users.
Within this realm of smartphones there have been two sort of disorders or psychological phenomenons taking place. The first one is known as Fomo (Fear of Missing Out) and entered the lexicon back in 2011. In the context of smartphone technology is the inability by someone to stop obsessing over the wanting to stay informed of the latest happenings or perhaps missing an important social event. All of this is directly caused by all of the amount and wealth of information shared on social networks and by extension what is also transpiring close to us.
From Fomo we can now include PHOMO, which is short for phone moments. In a detailed report by the Telegraph headlined “Why all of us smartphone addicts suffer from ´PHOMO´” is a comprehensive look at how teenagers and adults are suffering from this. Specifically everything one does revolves around capturing everything with a mobile phone.
Tips, treatments and takeaways
To reduce the habit that leads to an addiction-like using your mobile and excessive drinking-vowing for self-regulating restrictions is one way to tackle the problem. Since we have technology at our fingertips you can use Android or iOS apps to recover yourself from alcoholism. A healthline.com recommends “The Best Apps for Recovering Alcoholics” like ,Stop Drinking With Andrew Johnson, Twenty-Four Hours a Day, Amwell: Live Doctor Visit Now, AlcoDroid Alcohol Tracker, and more.
There are rehabilitation programs and facilities that lend such services. It is possible for some individuals to start setting their own limits to reduce number of hours and number of drinks. For starters there are yes mobile apps, which facilitate a form of discipline strategies and tactics to improve towards a favorable behavioral outcome in both scenarios. You have one app called FlipD and it helps set specific periods of time where you will be locked out of your smartphone.
Other apps like BreakFree and Phone Addict Free allow you to track how much time you have accumulated. In other words, the convenience of the technology has also made available resources for users who more often than not addicted and thanks to these apps they can curb this habit from becoming a detrimental addiction.
WebMD advices some very simple steps to follow and apply once you passed the habit stage. First of manage your smartphone usage and use it for work primarily. Certainly you have the luxury to check the status of your social accounts, but be conscious of not exceeding hours at a time. To be specific do the following three: be conscious, be strong and be disciplined. This also applies to reducing your daily and weekly intake of alcohol.
Once you realize you have acknowledged that you are an addict or an alcoholic with a passion take necessary measures and be proactive of just how you will eliminate excess. Just like you were taught in school time and time again be disciplined. You may fool others but you cannot lie to yourself.
So find a healthy balance and assure yourself that it is not harming your health or relationships with colleagues, friends or family.
To make a change with drinking please download the How To Give Up Alcohol Course which has been accessed by over 1,300 people from all over the world including all 50 US States. Make a start right now before the damage gets worse.