The Disease of Our Time: Digital Addiction

More than half of the world’s population, which is approaching 8 billion, uses the internet and exists in the digital environment. Nearly 4 billion individuals have mobile phones and 3 billion of them are active on the Internet via mobile phones. Can you imagine? 3 billion people can exist in the same network at the same time!

An average of 400 thousand tweets are sent in 1 minute on Twitter. All these data show us that digital transformation has taken place rapidly since the 2000s. Communication now takes place digitally. Individuals thus leave footprints in the digital environment. Imagine what information can be accessed in one hand and what can be done with this information by analyzing these footprints.

So what is the reason for the use of digital media and social media so much?

In digital environments; The high participation, openness, mutual live communication and connectivity features increase the usage.

The individual can escape from his unrest in the society with the social media applications on his mobile phone.

People who feel inadequate in their social skills, have difficulty in communicating face to face, have negative body image, and are insecure in interpersonal relationships can feel more comfortable with the digital communication they establish, and they may choose such relationships as their comfort zone and prefer real relationships and communication.

When the literature and researches are examined, more detailed findings can be found.

So what is Digital Addiction? Is it a disease? Is it a habit?

We know that addiction is the next level of habit. The full formation of addiction is related to the routine and excessive addictive behavior. According to Noyan, addiction; The irrepressible desire for an object, person or a being is the situation of being under the control of another will.

There is no standard definition of digital addiction. Technology addiction is under behavioral addictions (such as pathological gambling) in the diagnostic criteria book of psychiatry (DSM 5).

Digital addiction is an addiction fueled by a sense of incompleteness. Those who do not have a social life outside of the internet, who feel lonely, differentiated or asocial when they are away from mobile devices, who closely follow all kinds of applications that are created or developed on the phone, who want to be informed about all kinds of mobile innovations, who talk to their friends on social media and who want to find a new one on social media. A dependent generation has emerged that creates an identity.

The summary of the symptoms of Technology Addiction accepted in the literature are as follows:

1- Tolerance development: The use of certain periods does not show the same effect anymore and the duration of use is gradually prolonged.

2- Withdrawal: When the use is stopped, boredom, restlessness, unhappiness, not enjoying anything.

3-Failed attempts to reduce usage

4-Continue to use despite harm

5-Do not use more than designed

6-Failure to fulfill responsibilities and obligations due to use

7-Disruption in psychosocial functions

It can also be mentioned about the original disturbances created by Digital Addiction.

Netlessphobia: Fear of being without internet, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out): Fear of missing the agenda, Plagomania: Anxiety of being out of money.

Technology addiction, like other addictions, is at the forefront of unkept promises. I’ll leave it today, never pick it up again, just use it for work… etc. .The addicts do not realize the duration.

“One more minute” syndrome occurs in patients. It’s an ongoing request for one more minute and the chain continues. I’ll quit this time, okay I understand the harm, I can quit if I want, are the classic words of addicts. These words should not be believed. Addiction takes precedence over thoughts and desires, and in the end, that’s what addiction says.

Internet and computer are mandatory tools today. However, it is not compulsory for a person to use cigarettes. People can live their lives without smoking. But without digital tools, it has become difficult to sustain life today. It is widely used in work, school and family life, especially with the dimension of communication.

Staying away from the addicted object is one of the most important conditions of addiction treatment. In digital addiction, it is not possible to keep the person away from the addicted digital devices. This can be compared to an alcoholic working in a tavern.

The digital world increases social communication but also causes social isolation. Therefore, the treatment of digital addiction is difficult and complex. Considering today’s conditions, “Controlled digital use” is seen as the most appropriate method. We also create a treatment plan for the patient with cognitive behavioral therapy methods.

For reasons, symptom information and treatment methods that do not fit in this article, consult specialists.

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