We’re Addicted to Our Phones


There’s no other way to look at it.  Next month we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of the iPhone, and in the span of just one decade, we’ve become addicted to the things.

Whether we just really, really like the convenience and lifestyle made available through possession of smart-technology or our infatuation has reached a level beyond our ability to control is something professionals in the field of psychology are discussing more and more.  Technically, the DSM-5, the professional standard defining what is institutionally recognized as a mental disorder, doesn’t list an iPhone as an object of addiction, but perhaps it should, some suggest.  “It suits all the answers to an addiction,” says Dr. Laurence Abrams, a Houston psychologist.  He says just having one in hand, not even using it, satisfies cravings in some people. “The phone becomes like cigarette smoking.  It just becomes the fact that you have something in your hand to play with, to deal with, makes you feel comfortable, let’s you fill in moments when you have nothing to do.”

Addiction Medicine specialist Dr. Edwin Salsitz, who practices out of New York, says there are signs to look for to determine if you are addicted to your phone.

  • Are you too preoccupied with the device?
  • Can you put it down for a while?
  • Can you put it down without going through withdrawal?
  • Are you hiding usage from others?
  • Are you using your phone to fill a void of depression or boredom?

“There are elements of addiction attached to it,” says Dr. Abrams.  “The idea that you’re really getting a high out of it, which is part of the reward, is hard to see, but it is something that is used to fill in space.”


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