Could Smartphone Addiction Treatment be Misguided?

You already know that the nation’s youth spend too much time on their smartphones. It’s so prevalent that in a surprising twist, over 50% of American teenagers admit that they want to take steps to cut back. Unfortunately, the trend does not end after high school. The issue is reverberating into adulthood. A recent study of university students found that over 37% were addicted to smartphone use. Furthermore, research finds that the chronic behavior is impacting their academic performance which spills over into their professional careers and adult life in general.

Smartphone addiction is real, no one can dispute it. However, in some cases, a diagnosis of dependency is being misdirected. As it turns out, the addiction could be to something else. Below is a breakdown of how other behavioral health disorders could be the source of the concern, or at the very least may be compounding problematic behavior.

How Other Disorders Could be to Blame for Perceived Smartphone Addiction and How Dedicated Behavioral Health Therapy Can Help

Device Addiction, or Something Else?

One of the biggest concerns over combating smartphone addiction, is that treatment may be misdirected. Individuals may assume that the problem is an addiction to the general use of the mobile device. It’s easy to draw this conclusion when there appears to be no specific intention in its use, as one endlessly scrolls and swipes into the wee hours of the night. However, if there is a primary activity associated with chronic smartphone usage, the latter may be nothing more than a digital facilitator of another addiction.

What do we mean?

If the bulk (50 percent or more) of excessive device use is spent playing video games, the problem may be a gaming disorder, and not technically smartphone addiction. When parents grapple the mobile devices from their adolescent’s hands they are likely to find Roblox on the screen more than anything else. This behavior carries over into adulthood as users discover other problematic outlets that their mobile devices enable. This leads to the next potential culprit – if overindulgent smartphone use is spent scrolling over cryptocurrency valuations or stock market tickers, day trading addiction may be at play. Lastly, chronic collegiate and adult smartphone use has grown with the recent proliferation of online sports betting and casino gaming. Casino, sportsbook, and fantasy sports operators have all launched and/or upgraded their iOs and Android applications to make gambling easier and more convenient than ever. If a significant portion of the time spent on a device is invested in virtual blackjack or wagering on the full slate of AP Top 25 college football games for the week, a gambling disorder may be the root of the problem.

The point here, is that it’s of primary importance to clarify what the real addiction is before effective treatment can be prescribed. You may find that your smartphone is the enabler to another addiction, not the addiction itself. Kindbridge can help you find out. Our team of experts has put together a series of insightful questionnaires and guides regarding smartphone-centric activities that will help with the assessment:

Alternatively, you can simply book a FREE online assessment with one of our therapists right here.

Let’s find out if you require smartphone addiction treatment and therapy, or if another behavioral health disorder is to blame – or compounding the problem.

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