Technology has become a daily staple in life. We use it to communicate, socialize, and work. However, as the impulse to spend more time with technology grows, it can create unhealthy habits that can lead to addiction disorders. Some examples of technology addictions are shopping and gambling. Trying to break the patterns of over-using technology can be challenging and can even perpetuate the impulse to turn to substances in order to cope.
The Various Addictions to Technology
As you may already know, the amount of technology we have access to is innumerable. As a result, many people become addicted to technology. There are various technology addictions, including:
The most common technology addiction is an addiction to online gaming. Online games have become more and more popular with access to computers, tablets, and smartphones versus just gaming consoles alone. It is incredibly easy to access games no matter where you are, making this addiction so common. In addition, socially interactive games can give a false sense of social interaction, getting in the way of individuals’ interpersonal relationships. Gaming can also lead to online gambling addiction, another type of technology addiction.
Another common technology addiction that can provide individuals with a false sense of social interaction is social media addiction. Social media addiction can therefore lead to isolation. In addition to the instant gratification that social media brings, it also enables a fear of missing out, which can become addicting.
Social media can set unrealistic standards when it comes to body image and can lead to poor mental health symptoms. Individuals become easily addicted to the good neurotransmitters their brain releases every time they receive a “like” or a “follow.” They also use scrolling as an outlet for when they are bored, similar to drug and alcohol addiction.
A third common form of technology addiction is shopping addiction, which involves impulsive buying of goods online. Online shopping is used to avoid boredom and as a distraction from negative feelings, but it is only a temporary fix. It’s not only about receiving new and exciting goods but the process of scrolling through the items as well.
How Technology Addiction Can Lead to Substance Use
Similar to the way substances restructure the award systems in our brain, too much technology can also restructure the brain. Studies on technology addiction and drug addiction completely mirror each other in terms of their effects on the brain. They are also similar in their causes, both being driven by mental health issues like boredom and trying to avoid negative emotions.
Addiction is not just a disease that involves drugs and alcohol; it can come in many forms. The basis of all types of addiction is a loss of control, changes in mood, and continued use despite negative consequences. Just like substance use disorders (SUDs) can destroy a person’s life, so can technology addictions. They are similar because all forms of addiction are used as temporary fixes for negative emotions. Like drug and alcohol addiction, technology addiction can become the main priority in people’s lives, getting in the way of their relationships, work, and even hobbies.
Technology addiction can present as disrupted sleep, heightened attention-deficit symptoms, impaired emotional and social intelligence, and increased social isolation. These symptoms can lead to mental health issues and drug and alcohol addictions. In addition, it’s important to note that technology addictions all have one thing in common: they lead to social isolation. Social isolation can also be a substantial contributing factor in developing SUD.
Finding a Balance
Just like anything else in the world, there should be a balance established when it comes to technology use. Too much exposure to any one thing can lead to social isolation, mental health issues, and even a reliance on substance use. However, technology use can be more complex to monitor than drug or alcohol use because it is at the forefront of our everyday lives.
Some alternate uses of time rather than scrolling, gaming, or shopping may be going for a walk in nature. This separates you from technology but won’t lead you to a place where you will use substances. Another option is to spend time with family and friends and seek gratification from healthy circumstances. This is easier said than done, and recovery from any addiction is a challenging process. Knowing when to get help is the first step to finding a successful recovery path that ends in a well-balanced and well-rounded lifestyle.
If you are struggling with technology and drug or alcohol addiction, treatment is available. Finding a facility that can treat both disorders and get to the root cause of your addiction can help you find lasting healing.
No matter what it may be that is controlling us, being controlled by an external force can be terrifying. If you or a loved one is struggling with a technology addiction that may lead to drug or alcohol addiction, it may be time to seek help before it gets too out of hand. Treating a technology addiction can be an intervention to relying on substances for a temporary fix. At Bella Monte Recovery Center in Desert Hot Springs, California, we do whatever it takes to treat the underlying trauma and mental health issues that cause addiction. We tailor each client’s treatment plan to fit their individual needs. We are committed to a whole-person approach and giving each client a strong chance at a lasting recovery. Don’t wait to start your journey to recovery. To learn more about what we offer at Bella Monte Recovery Center, call us today at (800) 974-1938.