On March 23, India went into lockdown and the life of almost all Indians became restricted within four walls or to their small size screens and this led to the sprouting of a new addiction i.e. Screen addiction.
WHAT IS SCREEN ADDICTION??
It is a behavioral addiction in which a person becomes dependent on the use of screen or other devices as a maladaptive way of coping with stress. This has been declared as a national health problem in South Korea and China and now a growing trend has been observed in other Asian and European countries.
In India the trend is towards the Smart Phone addiction especially now when our work and classes is heavily dependent on Smart Phones. This trend has affected both younger as well as older generations. In a study conducted by NIMHANS it is estimated that in India 5% of the youth in the age group 18-25 years has addictive use of social networking sites.
In India people are heavily dependent on Social media, online games; Online dating apps etc and this trend has gone up significantly during the lockdown period.
DO ALL USERS HAVE ADDICTION??
- The Answer is NO.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SCREEN ADDICTION
- Is preoccupied with the use of device (thinks about the previous usage or anticipates the next use).
- Needs to use the device with increased amount of time in order to achieve satisfaction.
- Has made unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back or stop the use.
- Is restless, moody, depressed or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop the use.
- Uses the device to cope with stress.
- Has lied to family members, therapist, or others to conceal the extent of usage of device.
WHY THIS ADDICTION???
Like the use of drugs and alcohol they can trigger the release of Dopamine (Pleasurable hormones) and alter your mood, leading to the pleasurable effects. Some choose this as “Security Blanket” to escape from Social awkwardness, loneliness and some even as stress buster. Some of the common forms of screen addiction seen among Indians are: Cybersex Addiction, Online Gambling and Gaming Addiction, Social Media Addiction.
Negative Effects of Screen Addiction??
It can affect a person both physically and mentally.
- A few of the physical symptoms such as: Backache ,Eyestrain ,neck pain etc and the Psychological symptoms include agitation, anger, sleep disturbance and withdrawal symptoms(when the use is suddenly is reduced) include palpitation, Shortness of breath etc.
HOW TO OVERCOME SCREEN ADDICTION???
- Since the number of people who are dependent on the screens have multiplied heavily it is high time that people should start thinking about DETOX the DIGITAL DETOXIFICATION, which is voluntarily reducing the use of digital devices.
- Practicing healthy lifestyle –giving more importance to exercise, outdoor activities and providing adequate time for sleep.
- Fixing time schedule for the use of digital media.
- Switching on the data only when it’s required.
- Keeping your cell-phones or any other devices out of reach especially away from bed.
- Spending more quality time with your friends and family.
In 2014, NIMHANS Bangalore has started a special clinic called SHUT Clinic (Service for Healthy Use of Technology) for screen addiction and for healthy use of digital media. An app has been developed by SHUT clinic –“DIGITAL DETOX”.
The advances of technology and the comfort created by it have come to stay but reading habit has to be retained and revived in the young and old alike. A person who hits upon the fun in reading would grow away from excessive use of the screen.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY:
DR.TIJO IVAN JOHN MBBS;M.D (PSYCHIATRY)
CONSULTANT PSYCHIATRIST (NHM)
GENERAL HOSPITAL PALA & DISTRICT HOSPITAL KOTTAYAM
CONTACT NO: 9400581715