Excessive phone use is a trend that is growing every day. We are consumed with activities behind the screen. It has become the norm to automatically check your phone if you’re in the elevator with a stranger, on a queue or walking down the street on your way somewhere. We do this unintentionally because it’s become a habit for us. It almost feels weird not to check our phones every five minutes. We begin to feel lost, out of place, and even insecure at times. Phone addiction is gradually becoming the new normal. The average millennial checks their phones at least 50 times a day. Studies have shown that spending too much time on the phone and social media increases mental health challenges, especially in teens.
Here a few signs that you are addicted to your phone
- Feeling extremely anxious when your phone battery dies or when you lose service.
- Mindlessly passing time by looking at your phone.
- Picking your phone at the beep of every notification.
- Using your phone up until the minute you go to bed and checking it first thing when you wake up.
- Sleeping with your phone on your bed.
- Reaching for your phone in times of anxiety or worry.
These signs eventually lead to some effect that could be dangerous to your well-being
- Obsessive compulsive disorder: In some cases, phone addiction can create OCD patterns or symptoms which include: repeated habits (in extreme cases checking your phone over 800 times a day) and sleep disturbances which lead to raised temperature and high blood pressure.
- Text Neck: By consistently looking down, chronic phone users can start experiencing something known as text neck. This is usually used to describe neck pain and damage to the neck muscles from always lowering your neck to look downward.
- Relationship issues: If you have to constantly ask your partner to put their phone away, or if you find that you’re out to dinner with friends and can’t seem to stop checking your phone, you’re suffering from phone addiction. This can be harmful to building strong relationships (romantic or otherwise).
- Accidents: When you are consumed with what is on your phone, you become unaware of your surroundings. Phone addiction can lead to accidents, especially car accidents, if you are looking at our phone while driving or using it on the road.
5. Selfie Wrist: The 21st century’s latest hazard has been dubbed ‘selfie wrist’, a numbing and tingling sensation experienced in the wrist and fingers mostly from taking too many selfies or excessive phone use. Dr Levi Harrison, an orthopaedic surgeon based in San Francisco said he is seeing a rise in patients with the condition, which he describes as a form of carpal tunnel syndrome. In a 2018 episode of reality TV show, Keeping Up With the Kardashian, Kim Kardashian revealed that her doctor had diagnosed her with ‘selfie wrist’.
Dr Harrison says that as photo-editing technologies and apps become more accessible, the number of cases will increase, particularly among young women and teenage girls, who are the targets of these products. ‘It’s a form of carpal tunnel,’ Dr Harrison told KABC. ‘What happens is the nerve becomes inflamed and angry.’
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed, creating a burning, tingling or numbness. The median nerve spans from the forearm to the palm of the hand – and runs through a narrow passage in the wrist known as the carpal tunnel.
Drop your phone, take a break from your digital gadgets…. Have a gadget-downtime and enjoy doing other things that promote social interaction and your general well-being.
Written by Abaje Omoniyi