Understanding Gaming, Social Media and Device Addiction
This addiction describes an obsessive and compulsive relationship with gaming, technology, devices or applications. This occurs when much of our thinking becomes centred around these activities, when we find it difficult to stop or feel compelled to continue and when we or our friends and family start noticing increasing negative impacts in our lives.
Sometimes, our relationships with these devices or applications can become instinctive, and we don’t even notice we’re reaching for them. When we don’t have access, we may feel anxious that we’re missing out.
The portability and ‘always on’ nature of smartphones has also made it easier to hide other addictions which can be accessed through phones, including problem gambling, work addiction and porn and sex addiction.
Studies have shown that device addiction can exacerbate feelings of depression and anxiety and can contribute to relationship issues. Devices, games and applications also have the ability to spur hits of dopamine to the reward centres of our brains, just like drugs and alcohol do.
Indicators of addiction
Not all use of technology or devices is unhealthy, even rather high levels of use. What makes such behaviour problematic is when it becomes instinctive or difficult to stop, when it occupies your thoughts or when you begin to experience mounting negative consequences or impacts on relationships with family and friends.
Device addiction can also function as an escape from issues such as depression or anxiety, but it also has the capacity to exacerbate them.
Some indicators of device, internet or gaming addiction can include:
- Excessive use of video games, online gambling, online shopping, stock trading or other online/digital experiences
- Hours going by without eating, sleeping or connecting with loved ones.
- Hours spent on applications/websites including Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or TikTok
- Feelings of dissatisfaction, anger, frustration or lack of productivity after online/digital behaviour
- Insomnia, tiredness or disrupted sleeping patterns following device use
- Conflict with relatives, friends or partners about excessive device use
If device use relates to sex, hookup apps or pornography, it may be that your situation is better understood as a sexual addiction. If your device use relates to stock-trading, gambling or financial risk-taking, it may be that your situation is better understood as a gambling addiction.
If you’re concerned you may have a problem with gaming or use of devices, you can use our self-assessment tool here to gain a better understanding of whether key indicators of addiction apply to your situation. To schedule a free, confidential, professional phone assessment, call our team seven days a week on 1800 063 332.
Your pathway to recovery
At South Pacific Private, we’re committed to providing leading-edge treatment of both established and emerging addictions, disorders and mental health issues, and we know the toll that device, internet and gaming addiction can take on individuals and their relationships.
Our full, multi-disciplinary team is dedicated to identifying and resolving underlying issues which drive compulsive behaviour, and to equipping you with skills and strategies for managing your relationship with devices in the longer term.