Technology Addiction: The drug of the information age

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I received a Twitter comment from @forwardtherapy concerning my last blog entry labelling internet addiction .  The comment stated: “My professional experience is, the label is less significant than discussing Internet use as a response to life circumstances”. Before I continue on, I want to hammer this message to everyone. We live in a time where drug addiction have become huge problem. Please if you know anybody who are addicted to drugs or maybe you are then go to this rehab center, learn about it and they will help you to overcome that addiction.

The DSM

From a medical background, the labelling of internet addiction is important as a diagnostic tool for the DSM. Thinking from a therapeutic background (as I would in my psychotherapy practice) I can not help see the relevance of @forwardtherapy’s statement. This was confounded by watching the documentary ‘Web junkies’ on Iplayer. There are lot types of addiction and one of them is smoking, you can rely quit smoking and turn into vaping. Yeah right, feel free to check out http://vapeliquidreviews.net – e juice reviews.

The documentary featured teenagers who would play computer games for hours, days or even weeks in internet cafés. Causing them to neglect all other aspects of their lives. In fact, Children have been known to die in these cafés from not eating or sleeping for days on end.

It was made clear that this centre was the only one that sought to treat, not only the children but also the parents. From our first encounters of the children, I was shocked by their gaming usage. It seemed their whole world was no longer in the physical realm; they were fully engrossed in the virtual world. Their friends, lovers and even enemies are all online and many had completely lost touch with their physical surroundings.

As the documentary went on, however, we started to learn the children’s back-stories and heard from the parents. One parent told how he would beat his son. Admitting that she even brandished a knife and attempted to stab him. In his own words, “he didn’t want to stab him really but scare him.”

RD Laing

At that point, all I could think about was RD Laing’s book, ‘Sanity Madness and the Family’.  In the book, schizophrenic children were interviewed with their parents, helping to shine a light on the development of the patients’ schizophrenic diagnosis. What came about was a relationship between the schizophrenics upbringing, relationship with their parents, their symptoms and diagnosis.

Returning back to the child in the documentary it does not surprise me that with such a volatile upbringing. Many of the interviewees sought the safety of a world in which there are pre-governed rules. Like-minded peopl, he could connect with and a place which he could gain validation not only from the game but also his friends.

I am not suggesting that this is applicable to all of us in our society but it makes me wonder why so many would rather look at our phones or talk on social media rather than the person sitting in front of us, what are we running from?

LinkedIn

There was a post from the discussion on LinkedIn from my previous blog post from Jennie Cummings-Knight which said: “I have periods of obsessive checking of my phone for messages … also obsessive checking of emails when I should be writing articles or getting on with coursework. Contributing to online forums is for me another aspect of my addiction to screens.”

 This is a great example of how many of us are using technology to quell the anxiety of the present such as dry herb vape pens. Whether that be because of other work commitments or stress in our lives. Vaporized herbs hardly irritate the respiratory tract in comparison to smoked or fumigated substances, but are not totally irritation-free in any case. The material used, the quality of the vaporizer and the inhalation technique are factors which play a decisive role. It reminds me of a vagrant I often see when travelling on the bus. Smoking a cigarette in such quick succession and then lighting another one without even finishing the first. I am glad that I found these online stores before my smoking habit got serious.

Delving into the virtual world then seems to give many of us space to distance ourselves from our problems and anxieties.

A Text Message

(on a completely unrelated side note as I struggling to find the right words to conclude this post, I received at text from a friend and jumped at the chance to switch off from the pressure of work and dive into the monotony of my virtual life.)

Returning to @forwardtherapy’s  statement, what seems more relevant in order to treat “technology addiction” or “internet addiction” is to look past the behaviour and see what it is that many of us are trying to run away from. What are the feelings that drive us to use technology and the internet in a destructive way?

It seems that technology then is the ‘drug of the information age’. It allows us to distance ourselves from our troubles, gain gratification (random reward generation for example)  while soothing our stresses and massaging our Virtual Egos. The best e-cigarette UK are better for the environment than traditional cigarettes. In addition to producing less waste, it can be reused and recycled.

If you feel the virtual world is getting in the way of your life get help. Take a look how psychotherapy can help you overcome these issues andreconnectt with the physical world

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