Addiction to new technologies: symptoms, causes and treatment
In this day and age, technological advances come in a relatively short period of time, and for many people this represents the need to constantly update themselves on these advances.
In this article we will see what the main characteristics of addiction to new technologies are , we will talk about how this type of need can arise in people, and the most effective forms of treatment in these cases.
What is addiction to new technologies?
Addiction to new technologies is a strong need of the subject to keep interacting with electronic devices that allow him/her to access the Internet either through smartphone apps or computer programs.
In general, in addition to needing to be connected to the web, the subject needs devices that meet specific parameters, so that they can provide a more complete experience, in terms of the contents that could be accessed.
Main symptoms of this addictive behavior
There is a whole range of addictions, each with its own characteristics and symptoms. They all represent an irrational need of the individual to have access to something or activity. There will be differences depending on what triggers the subject’s addictive behaviour.
In the case of addiction to new technologies, the symptoms will be as follows
Compulsive need for information
The subjects who present this type of addiction, feel a strong need to be constantly informed, especially with regard to issues related to what is interesting in their social circle.
2. Need for state-of-the-art technological devices
As the addiction to new technologies becomes more intense, it is not enough for the subject to satisfy his need for information through any device, but he will need one that provides him with the latest theological advances to feel that it satisfies his need .
3. Tendency to isolate
People who have become addicted to the new technologies become subjects relatively removed from physical social contact . This means that they can socialize peacefully through their devices, thanks to their profiles in social networks, but personal coexistence is a nuisance for them.
4. Technology dependence
These subjects focus all their attention and resources on keeping up to date with technological advances, in all aspects. Situation that represents a limitation with respect to facing situations outside the context of the screens .
For example, a technology addict can be very efficient at performing activities by means of an intelligent device, but if it is necessary for him to do something in another context the subject will be unable to do it with the same effectiveness. In the most intense cases of this addiction he might even be unable to perform the task without the aid of technology.
In general terms, addictions are the product of a distortion in the subject’s reward system , which can lead to failure at the organic level.
When we begin to practice an activity compulsively, or adopt new habits that generate satisfaction, our brain secretes a neurotransmitter known as serotonin (the happiness hormone). The more time we spend doing this activity without distributing our time to other activities, the greater the amount of serotonin secreted by our brain , contributing to our becoming more and more dependent.
There are basically two ways to treat the anxiety that comes from stopping using these devices so much. In the first place there is psychotherapy; which consists of sessions with a professional of psychology where the emphasis will be on the emotional part of the subject and on the psychic causes that can detonate the anxious behaviour in the person.
Second are medications, which should only be used when it has been determined that the primary cause of the anxiety is of organic origin.
Similarly in these cases the medication should ideally be used in conjunction with psychotherapy processes . In any case, the medication should always be prescribed by a doctor.
Some of the most commonly used drugs for anxiety cases are as follows:
- Vocci, F. J.; Acri, J; Elkashef, A. (2005). Medication development for addictive disorders: the state of the science. American Journal of Psychiatry (162): 1431-1440.
- Sydor A, Brown RY. Molecular Neuropharmacology: A Foundation for Clinical Neuroscience (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.