Are you concerned that you’re becoming addicted to technology? Studies show millions of Americans feel the same way. 27% of parents and 50% of teens feel they are addicted to their mobile devices.
We may not think of technology addiction in the same way as we do alcoholism or drug abuse, but they might have more in common than we think. Alcoholism is listed as a chronic disease characterized by an uncontrolled preoccupation with alcohol. While that may be true of your relationship to technology, yet technology addiction is absent from the International Classification of Diseases and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
But that does not mean technology addiction doesn’t exist. You may feel powerless against your addiction to technology, like your smartphone, social media, video games, and even Netflix, and you may feel that you need help.
While more research is needed to trace the similarities between alcoholism and technology addiction, our relationships with digital devices may not be entirely healthy.
With so many people using their phones, spotting the signs of technology addiction can difficult. One person may use their smartphone continuously without feeling addicted to technology, while another person may do the same and have trouble getting through the day.
The signs of tech addiction typically include:
If you’re forced to give up your digital device, whether it’s going to a movie, spending time with friends, or going off the grid, you might experience symptoms of withdrawal, including restlessness, irritability, lack of concentration, dyssomnia, or anger and aggression.
A recent study shows that individuals that gave up their digital devices experienced higher rates of anxiety and struggled with cognitive tasks. Participants also experienced increased heart and blood pressure rates, which can be a sign of withdrawal.
If this sounds familiar, you might be suffering from an addiction to technology.
If you feel that you need help your addiction to technology, you’re not alone. While using the 12-step program to break your addiction to technology may sound strange, the ITAA is using the same philosophy to help people ween themselves off of their digital devices.
You can visit their website to learn more about this innovative organization. They offer support groups and ITAA meetings across the country. You can also use their online resources to start a new ITAA group in your local community.
A technology treatment center in Seattle is considered the first facility devoted to technology addiction. Members regularly meet up to discuss their addiction to technology in a group-setting, using the 12-step program for advice and support.
The 12-step program for ITAA is listed as:
Based on the steps listed above, this program is about admitting your have a problem and practicing mindfulness as you try to break your addiction to technology. If your addiction has led to the pain and suffering of others, you can use this opportunity to redeem yourself and amend those relationships.
While the 12 steps of ITAA may not be for everyone, practicing these ideas can help you become more aware of your relationship to technology. If you feel that your relationship with technology is getting in the way of your ability to accomplish certain tasks or your personal relationships, you can always take steps to improve your relationship to technology.
Reach out to these communities for advice and support if you need help with your addiction to technology.