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Are You Addicted? Smartphone Addiction, Internet Addiction Test from Expert Dr. Kimberly Young

From Smartphone Addiction to Screen Addiction.  Our Expert presents: THE TEST.

Internet Addiction.  Smartphone Addiction.  Game Addiction. . Google it.

There are now millions of search results on the Internet telling you just how addictive the Internet has become.   

Devices that are so powerful that you can leave this article while you’re reading it, and determine within seconds if Al Gore, did in fact, invent the Internet.  Then grab a selfie and check your home security system and your work email, before posting your perfectly filtered pic on four social networks, complete with appropriate hashtags and a philosophical quote you copied from someone else who also copied it.  And then…. 

In fact, you could conceivably become addicted to the Internet while reading ONLY stories about Internet addiction.  The average person checks their phone 85 times a day!

It's the Dopamine Baby!

When we get a text or browse a new site it excites neurons in the area of the mid brain, which in turn releases dopamine into the pleasure centers of the brain.

Ok Back to The Addiction Story

The pervasiveness of being continually connected online has turned us into distracted dopamine seekers.  Living for the next thumbs up or news flash.  And it’s happened before we even realized it was happening.  But today, any number of data points tell the story of how quickly we’ve lost control:

  • It’s estimated that 25% of all traffic accidents involve distracted driving; many of those are pedestrians who wander into traffic while looking at their smartphones.
  • Test scores are declining and it’s estimated that if schools banned smartphones in class, students would gain five days of school time.
  • A recent study showed that subjects did the best on tests when their phones were not in the room with them; they fared worse when the phones were in the same room and they were the dumbest when their digital devices were right next to them. Whether it was on or in use, mattered not.
  • Researchers at Cal State Dominguez Hills found that when we put our phones down, our brains trigger our adrenal glands to produce bursts of cortisol, the fight or flight hormone. That causes anxiety. It’s why after we’ve spent an average of about 15 minutes away from our smartphone, we feel the need to grab our phones to reduce the anxiety.

All this may seem like “new news” to most of us, but there were those who began to raise the red flag early, in the days of CompuServe and AOL.  Like visionary Dr. Kimberly Young, who started studying this phenomenon in the ‘90’s and founded The Center For Internet Addiction in 1995.  We’re so lucky to have Dr. Young with us as our authority on Internet Addiction. University professor, author, and speaker, Dr. Young literally coined the phrase “Internet Addiction” and has developed what’s widely regarded as the standard for Internet Addiction testing. 

 

The Addiction Test Is At bottom of This page

Dr. Young became interested in the concept of Internet Addiction when a friend approached her in the 90’s, concerned that her husband was spending 40 to 60 hours a week on AOL chat rooms. Cut to the chase: the marriage did not survive.

Flash Forward. Dr. Kimberly Young’s Internet Addiction Test (IAT) and the Young™ Specialized Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Internet Addiction were the first and remain the gold standard for figuring out and fighting this overwhelming condition that’s sounding an epidemic rally.

What Is Internet addiction or Screen or Smartphone Addiction? It Dr. Young told us she defined it as any online- or smartphone related, compulsive behavior which interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones, and one’s work environment.

Any and All digital and computer related addictions are Not recognized by the The American Psychiatric Association (APA)- they have stated that there is insufficient evidence to even include Internet Gaming Disorder in their manual of Diagnostic codes.  That basically means that Americans won't get treatment for the disorder covered by insurance. However, the fact that Dr. Youngs gold standard Internet Addiction Test (IAT), a 20-item scale for assessing features of Internet addictio, has been translated into various languages and used in several studies world-wide. There are over 100 books on Amazon as we write this, covering online addiction topics from online gambling, online shopping, social media, gaming, smartphone Internet addiction, Smartphone addiction, online porn and screen addictions.

Meanwhile, The World Health Organization says Gaming Addiction is a condition, recognizing it in its International Classification of Diseases with this game addiction diagnostic code. 

"The inclusion of Internet Gaming as a disorder . . .  will result in the increased attention of health professionals to the risks of development of this disorder and, accordingly, to relevant prevention and treatment measures."  WHO 2018

Finally the US is stepping up:  Dr. Nancy Petry of the University of Conneticut is heading important new internet addiction research — focusing specifically on online gaming —it is being funded with $416,000 by The National Institutes of Health to determine the best form of treatment.

China and South Korea have identifed Internet addiction as a significant public health threat and both countries support treatment as well as do extensive education and research.  Dr. Young noted they're way ahead because the problem became very significant early on.  Surveys  in Europe and America estimates that between 1.5%  and  8.2% of the population could be suffering from Internet Addiction Disorder(IAD)

Take note, it’s not just that yummy smartphone that’s the problem.

At Tech Wellness, August lovingly calls smartphones the" Oreo cookies of Technology".  Based on a university *study several years ago which found that Oreo cookies light up the pleasure centers of rat’s brains more than cocaine does.  That creamy combination of fat and sugar triggers addiction with ease.  Just like cocaine.  And it turns out—very similar to what happens in your brain when you’re sucked into the power of the hypnotic games or programmed-to-keep-you-entranced, apps like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and even many shopping sites.

Online on any device, game consoles included, our brains can succumb to the Oreo-ness of it all.

Addiction Symptoms Include:

  • Failed attempts to control behavior
  • Neglecting friends and family
  • Neglecting sleep to stay online
  • Being dishonest with others
  • Feeling guilty, ashamed, anxious, or depressed as a result of online behavior
  • Weight gain or loss, backaches, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Withdrawing from other pleasurable activities

Whether you call it Smartphone addiction, Gaming Addiction, Compulsive Internet Use or Internet Addiction Disorder it’s important to be aware.

It’s a big deal. But you’re bigger and more powerful than your technology and it’s time to take back your power.

Take the Smartphone Addiction Test.  Wherever you land on the scale, Dr. Young has provided Tech Wellness with effective recommendations for the way you or someone you love uses technology. It applies to all devices, your tablet,  smartphone, screen, game or internet Basically, any online activity that has the power to draw you in.


 

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