Smartphone addiction can result in loneliness or anxiety

What can I do about cell phone addiction?

The smartphone provides support in everyday life. But are you using it too excessively? We'll explain where cell phone addiction begins and what you can do about it.

Smartphone addiction - does it exist?

Strictly speaking, not because there is no diagnosis. “Smartphones promote addiction-like behavior,” says Annika Schüle from the Baden-Württemberg State Association for Prevention and Rehabilitation (BWLV). The transition there is gradual. If you constantly look at your cell phone because you are afraid of missing out on something, you will become more addicted. Because at such a moment the brain releases the happiness hormone dopamine. You feel better. The result: You use your cell phone more and more often. According to studies, people look at their cell phones an average of 80 times a day and interrupt other activities every 18 minutes.

Five symptoms to take seriously

  • Loss of control over your own mobile phone consumption
  • Neglect of hobbies, interests or friends due to constant cell phone use
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as aggressive behavior if the cell phone was forgotten or the battery was empty
  • Secret cell phone use to deceive other people
  • Unsuccessful attempts to restrict cell phone use

What are the consequences of excessive smartphone use?

The smartphone has changed our lives. In the past you had to pause - for example at the bus stop. Today we are constantly distracted by cell phones. That is bad for the mental balance. "Excessive smartphone consumption can contribute to mental illness," says Schüle.

Smartphones also reduce concentration. Studies have found that out. This is particularly problematic in road traffic. In addition, excessive smartphone consumption makes you lonely. Affected people withdraw socially and have less time for friends.

Overcoming cell phone addiction: you can do that

A few days without a smartphone? Unimaginable for many. But digital detox, i.e. digital detoxification, is becoming increasingly popular. Mindfulness exercises can also help. “It is crucial to be aware of it,” says Schüle.

  • With most smartphones, you can limit the maximum amount of time you spend on your mobile phone each day. Take advantage of this opportunity.
  • Refrain from certain services. For example, get a real alarm clock!
  • You don't need push notifications for every app. Question what you really care about.
  • Turn off all beeps at work. So you can concentrate better.
  • Leisure time is used to relax from everyday stress. Check business emails only if you absolutely have to.
  • Do you think you always have to react quickly to messages? That causes stress. Talk about it! Many feel the same way.
  • You should put your smartphone away an hour before going to bed. This will help you calm down and sleep better.

If your partner is constantly on the smartphone, speak to him on it. Important: don't get discouraged! Because in the short term you can achieve little. “Anyone who uses the smartphone excessively is stuck in a vortex,” says Schüle. In order to change something, it depends on the will. “Everyone has to develop it themselves,” says Schüle.

Professional help and regional contact points for mobile phone addiction

Most therapists treat online addiction and the like with behavioral therapy, sometimes with medication as well. The goal: to understand pathological behavior, to practice healthy behavior. The Baden-Württemberg State Association for Prevention and Rehabilitation (BWLV) operates nine competence centers that provide advice and initiate treatments.

Addresses and further information on the media addiction competence centers

Seven out of ten people in Germany have a smartphone. But what is it used for besides making calls? Studies show that social media such as Instagram are popular - more for women than men. They also like to use the smartphone for research or to play games. Listening to music is about as popular.

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