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A cell phone or a smartphone is a highly productive device. Nowadays, people use it to buy groceries, book a cab, online shopping, communicate via video facility with far-off loved ones, manage office or school work and so much more. However, there is a fine line separating productive use from addiction.

The excessive use of smartphone leads to the development of an addiction in which one uses the phone compulsively even when one is aware of its debilitating consequences on health, productivity, and relationships. The addiction is highly prevalent among teenagers who use these smartphones obsessively to chat with their friends, manage their online social platforms, play games, etc. Smartphone addiction in teens can lead to poor performance at school and sports. It can also affect the adolescent/teen’s physical as well as mental well-being.

Symptoms of Smartphone Addiction

Some of the symptoms of smartphone addiction in teens are:

  • Constantly texting friends and eagerly awaiting their reply
  • Playing online or app installed games
  • Excessively watching videos
  • Constantly going online on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
  • Obsessively using photo editing apps
  • Always ensuring that their phones are charged
  • Hyperventilating when the phone gets discharged, is not working properly, or is unable to receive signals.
  • Getting agitated when the charger does not work or the internet speed is slow
  • Resorting to drug and alcohol use as access to internet black markets offering these increases

Further, any addiction is a compulsive behavior and may lead to another one in a short span of time. This can manifest as other troubled addictions and behavior problems in teens battling an addiction to smartphone.

Long-term Consequences of Smartphone Addiction

Long-term consequences of smartphone addiction can be both physical and mental. Some of these include:

  1. Feelings of loneliness and depression – These feelings develop when one is hooked to the smartphone, compromising on real-time friendships and conversations. In addition, when one is always online, he or she is bound to make comparisons with others which is self-deprecating.
  2. Feeling anxious – Constantly sending messages and then awaiting revert can cause a lot of anxiety.
  3. Exacerbating attention deficit disorders – A constant stream of messages and information from a smartphone can hamper one’s attention span. It can make it difficult for a person to concentrate on one thing at a time.
  4. Disrupted sleep – Constant use of smartphone can seriously disrupt one’s sleep cycle. It can affect one’s memory and understanding.
  5. Physical problems: Excessive use of smartphones is also associated with other physical problems such as eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and pain in the back and neck area.

Helping Teens Deal with Smartphone Addiction

Parents and guardians can help teenagers identify and deal with their smartphone addiction by:

  • Helping them recognize triggers – Sometimes when a teen is bored or lonely, they may reach for the smartphone to entertain themselves. It is important to teach the adolescent/teen other ways to entertain themselves rather than shield their feelings behind the veil of a smartphone.
  • Making them understand the difference between online communication and real time communication – All of us are social creatures and therefore require physical social interactions. Making eye contact, observing body language, and feeling connected can only come from real time conversations. Relying completely on smartphones for interactions might turn a person into a loner.
  • Assisting them in building coping skills – Some teenagers fear missing out the action on online social platforms. This fear might lead to stress affecting the mental health of an individual. One must learn to deal with such stress and can try breathing techniques, exercises, yoga, etc.
  • Identifying underlying problems that may be supporting their compulsive behavior – A teenager might be grappling with depression or other mental health problems that may be fueling their smartphone addiction. It is important to identify such underlying problems and seek support to rectify these.
  • Strengthening their support system – Having a strong social group is supportive to one’s overall well-being. It is, therefore, important to be a part of one or individual groups like a sport team, book group, music group or a volunteer group to stay connected with people and remain grounded.

Treatment for Teen Smartphone Addiction

If the strategies discussed above fail, then one can think of enrolling their teen for professional support in a teen rehab center offering treatment for smartphone addiction. ADEONA Healthcare treats smartphone addiction and is a safe haven for teens. It is like a home away from home where therapies, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are used for the identification and correction of maladaptive thought patterns. In addition, individual, group, and family therapies can also be used to treat such an addiction. Behavioral therapy, such as following concrete rules for cellphone usage and setting up phone-free hours, can also prove effective.

Many teens addicted to their smartphones also grapple with co-occurring disorders. Instead of facing their symptoms, they prefer losing themselves in their smartphones. Therefore, receiving treatment for co-occurring disorders can also help successfully recover from an addiction to a smartphone.

About ADEONA Healthcare

At ADEONA Healthcare’s Rancho San Diego campus, all adolescent and teen patients receive a comprehensive physical and mental assessment at the time of their admission. During these investigations, the clinical specialists attempt to screen the teen for underlying conditions that may have fueled their addiction. They also try to investigate any co-occurring disorders that might have led to the excessive use of their smartphones. Followed by this, the patients receive customized treatment plans which increase their possibility of making a complete and lasting recovery.

For more information on our smartphone addiction treatment program, call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 and speak to our representative. You can even chat online with our admission counselor for immediate resolution of your problem.

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