Are You Addicted to Your Cell Phone?

There is a new movie out starring Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell. At one point, the female lead is late for her wedding because she is talking on the phone. Even worse, she takes it with her to the altar. Chaos and comedy ensue.

This sign can cause anxiety in a cell phone addict.

This sign can cause anxiety in a cell phone addict.

When Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “We are all connected,”  he further went on to define this connection as biological and chemical. But, seriously, one could now also add ‘electronically’ to the list. And since our cell phones are never very far from us, there is always the potential for addiction.

How does this affect us? 

Dopamine, that feel-good chemical in our brains, is created by ‘likes,' new message and tweets in our cellphones.* A rush of dopamine isn’t unhealthy, but when the chemical stops, it can leave us craving more.

Cellphone and screen time isn't an addiction unless compulsive behavior is also involved. Examples of compulsive behavior include the inability to have ‘dark time,' a period without a cell phone or other connected device. (See ‘Story of a Cell Phone Addict: Why I Quit Going to Church.’)

If the prospect of taking a weekend vacation without having a cellphone with fills a person with dread, there might have a problem.  

Being sneaky If a user frequently hides in the bathroom of a restaurant or at a family gathering to read text messages or check social media account, that’s compulsive behavior. (Although 33% of all users have admitted to doing this on a dinner date.)

Feeling more connected to the cell phone than to the family

We love family members, but sometimes their breath smells, or they leave the open mayonnaise jar out all night. A cell phone doesn’t do this. It’s always amusing, always engaging, and if a person goes into a click-click-click mode to avoid the family on a regular basis, rethinking priorities might be in order. 

Binge scrolling/texting

If a user finds themselves spending hours of idle time following social media threads or texting instead of things they’re supposed to be doing, it may be a chance to rethink their cellphone use time.

To relieve stress or boredom

People who are bored or stressed will engage in behaviors such as sleeping too much or overeating. Other people will reach for their cellphone. Can 93 million Candy Crush players be wrong? 

Rut roh! When cell phone usage hurts your paws, sometimes surgery is necessay.

Rut roh! When cell phone usage hurts your paws, sometimes surgery is necessay.

Physical symptoms of overuse

A cell phone addiction can result in physical symptoms of overuse such as bloodshot eyes, aching fingers or hands or carpal tunnel syndrome. When cell phone usage sends a person to the doctor, that might be an indication that things have progressed beyond casual use.

Just as every person who plays Candy Crush isn’t an addict, every person who fits one of the above criteria is not necessarily an addict. The critical point here is manageability. It isn’t so much a matter of asking if a compulsive behavior is involved, it’s also intent.

The easiest way to answer this is to ponder your reply to the following question:

Do you own your cell phone, or does your cellphone own you?

We can fix your cell phone if it breaks, but don't just be gentle with your cell phone; be gentle with yourself, too. If you think you have a cell phone addiction, please get professional help. You are not alone.

Call us at 480-695-6756 if you need a highly-rated, expert cellphone repair company to repair your iPhone, Samsung, PS4, XBox, iPad or tablet.


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