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Are you addicted to your smartphone?

In the UK, we live in an information society that is dominated by advanced technology that we all live harmoniously alongside. No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, you will encounter some kind of modern technology throughout the day, you also most probably (definitely!) own a smartphone, but do you have a mobile phone addiction? Find out today with Port of Call, alcohol rehab specialists.

According to Ofcom’s 2017 landline and mobile statistics for the UK, 94% of adults personally own or use a mobile phone. This statistic is terrifying on its own, but when compared with how often adults use their device in a day, the numbers become extremely worrying. On average the 94% of adults who own or use a mobile device use it for 1 hour 54 minutes a day, with 15 million of those people disturbing their sleeping patterns to check their phone and reply to messages. You are most probably one of the 94% of UK citizens who own a phone, you may even use your phone for up to 2 hours a day, or are one of the 15 million who disturbs their sleep to check their phone… but how can you tell if you have a smartphone addiction?

Why not take our quiz and find out if you are addicted to your mobile phone?

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How to tell if you have a smartphone addiction

There are many common tell-tale signs to show if you, or a person in your life, has a smartphone addiction. Here are 10 of the more serious signs that point to mobile phone addiction

  • Having your phone in your hand 24/7
  • Your phone battery not lasting the day
  • Constant worry about losing your phone
  • Using your phone in social settings
  • Obsessively checking your phone without any reason
  • Experiencing ‘phantom vibrations’ – When you think your phone is vibrating in your pocket, then realising it was a false alarm.
  • Using your phone even while watching TV or eating
  • Panicking if you leave your phone at home
  •  Procrastinating from important work or schooling by using your phone

People with a smartphone addiction problem usually show most, if not all of the above signs. While smartphone addiction is a very real thing, few people are actually aware of the problem. This essentially means that they will carry on, none the wiser, and thus will not do anything to reduce the effects of mobile phone addiction.

Why smartphone addiction is bad

Alongside the multitude of social issues that accompany mobile phone addiction, there are reoccurring mental and physical problems. Here we have listed the top 10 reasons why smartphone addiction is bad and how it can affect your health.

  • Back problems – Constantly being hunched over your phone puts pressure on your spine. According to the Daily Telegraph, 45% of young people aged 16 to 24 now suffer from back pain as their spinal disks are put under pressure. That’s a 60% rise from 2014.
  • Nerve damage – A neurological condition called occipital neuralgia can be caused by constantly looking down – the condition is regularly confused with migraines or other types of headaches, unfortunately, there is no a cure for this.
  • Anxiety and depression – The constant need for updates and interaction from friends can cause worry when not received, leading to anxiety and even depression.
  • Disrupted sleep – Light exposure from a mobile phone suppresses melatonin, the hormone that helps with sleep timing, and sees you falling asleep later and experiencing a disrupted sleep.
  • Damage to eyesight – Direct exposure to blue light, like the one that comes from mobile phone screens, can cause damage to the retina of the eye.
  • Damage to hearing – Listening to loud music via the headphones (that are supplied with your phone) can cause serious noise-induced hearing loss.
  • Source of bacteria – Disturbing research from the University of Arizona has revealed that the standard mobile phone houses 10 times more bacteria than is found on a toilet seat.
  • Text claw – Sufferers of text claw experience wrist pain, muscle pain, and cramping of fingers due to continuous texting and scrolling on a smartphone.
  • Fitness and weight management – Overall the public are spending less time exercising and looking after their health, instead, spending time glued to phones.
  • Social effects – Even though we feel more connected when on our phones we most definitely are not. A study from the University of Essex discovered that people who had personally meaningful conversations when a mobile phone was nearby reported lower relationship quality and less trust in their partner. They also found that their partner was less empathetic to their worries.

As the babies of the information age grow older these medical and social issues become more prominent throughout society. Medical statistics in relation to back problems in young people are shooting up year after year, all due to overuse of mobile devices. So, how do we tackle mobile phone addiction?

How to combat smartphone addiction

“An addiction is when the thing you are addicted to begins to control your life and interferes with your daily activities, work, and relationships.” – Tova Payne – Author of Eat Think & Live Rich.

Bearing this in mind, and considering the relationship with your mobile phone, do you believe that you need help? Here are 5 useful tips on how to combat smartphone addiction:

  • Stop dedicating the first 30 minutes of your day to your smartphone. The first minutes after waking up should be used to create a good start to your day, make breakfast, freshen up, talk to family members and take a bit of time for yourself.
  • Allocate no-phone time zones to reduce distractions, give your eyes a break and enable you to socialise. Depending on the person, 2-4 hours of no-phone time a day is recommended.
  • Turn off your phone during the evening. Allow your last hour before bed to be meaningful, read a book, spend time with family, take up a hobby. Turning your phone off and not using it before bed prevents you from being disturbed during sleep and stops the suppression of melatonin in your body, resulting in an undisturbed and natural sleep.
  • When you are engaging with a real-life person or in a social environment, switch off your phone, lose it in the vortex of your bag and give your undivided attention to the people around you. Indulging in the virtual world while in social environments stunts your communicational skills and tells the people around you: “you are not as important”.
  • When you don’t 100% have to have your phone by your side, put it away somewhere that you cannot easily reach.

The long-term solution is to distance yourself from your loyal partner in crime and make more effort to spend time focusing on yourself and the people around you. Drag yourself out of the depths of the virtual world and come back to reality.

If you are concerned about someone who may have a smartphone addiction or have any questions related to this article then please contact Port Of Call today on on 0800 002 9010 or get in touch via our contact form. Port of Call are experts in the field of addiction, from drug to alcohol and beyond. We can help you access addiction treatment at the right time, including detox, alcohol rehabprivate rehabdrug rehab, as well as residential retreats.

About the author: Martin Preston

Martin is our Founder and Chief Executive. Martin is himself in long term recovery and started Port of Call to help families navigate treatment options. In 2020 Martin will open Delamere Health Ltd, the UK’s first purpose built addiction treatment clinic.

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