What is Smartphone Addiction, and Why is it so Harmful?

Smartphones are a helpful part of developing technology that help us to manage our lives, run our businesses and stay in contact with loved ones. Many of us use our smartphones for various purposes and have come to rely on them. Just like with any other behavior, using smartphones can become addictive, and we can become dependent upon them and even compulsive with them. Those of us with other more recognizable addictions, or who identify with having addictive personalities, can find us even more susceptible to smartphone addiction and compulsion.

If you find yourself compulsively checking your phone countless times a day, smartphone addiction might be a problem for you. We receive constant alerts that we’ve received emails, texts and social media notifications. If you feel like you’re so tied to your phone that it takes up too much of your day, it might have become an issue for you.

While our phones are helpful and instrumental to handling our daily lives, overreliance on them can be harmful for many reasons. Trying to do too many things at once, euphemistically referred to as multitasking, can increase our anxiety and stress levels. It can also make it much harder for us to concentrate, causing us to lose our ability to focus. When this happens, we often aren’t able to control our thoughts. Our minds race more, and this can impact our ability to calmly respond to stressors. We can find ourselves becoming more reactive, more easily triggered, stressed and overwhelmed. We might have heightened anxiety as a result. Our racing thoughts can also cause us to lose sleep and can lead to chronic insomnia, which can have dangerous effects on our health. The blue light in cellphone and computer screens can also contribute to insomnia.

When we are so tied to electronic devices, we by default make less time for the other important things in our lives. We may spend less quality time with our loved ones and find ourselves consumed by our phones even when we’re with them. We might give less attention to our passions and interests. Communication and social media can take over our lives, especially when we make them such a priority. Our relationships can suffer, especially when our loved ones feel neglected. Giving less time to the things we value in life can cause us to be unhappy, even depressed. We can lose sight of what we love most in life.

Smartphone addiction and other addictions can be co-occurring and can feed off of each other. Riverside Recovery can help. Call (800) 871-5440.