Symptoms of Addiction
Despite slight overlapping grey areas, you should note that excess activity and addictive activity are two incredibly different scenarios. The chief difference is that excessiveness, when healthy, adds colour to life while addiction, is always unhealthy and takes from your life.
So what is important here is how do we even define addiction and that someone is addicted? This former has been a question of contention amongst psychologist specilised in the field of addiction. For our case, we will use the definition that addiction is any obsessive behavioural involvement, which result in a lack of interest for other activites accompanied by physical and mental symptoms when attempting to cease such obsession.
In defining addiction, in our case to mobile devices, we shall employ Professor Mark Griffith's, (renowned and well learnt in the field), definition as quoted below.
For many years, I have operationally defined addictive behaviour as any behaviour that features all the core components of addiction. For example, throughout my own research examining the psychology of gambling, I have conssitently argued that excessive gambling is no different froma lcoholism or heroin addiction in terms of the core components of addiction (i.e. salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, relapse.)
--Professor Mark Griffiths, Nottingham Trent University
Let us take a deeper look into these 6 symptoms. We have used these symptoms to create an Addiction Test which will give you a fairly precise result for your own consideration.
This means the state of being outstandingly noticeable and occurs when mobile devices take up the largest part of your life, overshadowing your supposed priorities and thinking. For example, when you are in school, you bring your mobile devices along for entertainment purposes or when you are engaged in an activity, your mind will be preoccupied by thoughts and desires of your mobile device.
This refers to the individual account as an outcome of pursuing mobile devices which can seem as a coping strategy. (i.e. to experience a "high" , "buzz", minimise stressful events, or provisional numbing feeling)
This is the procedure whereby the individual intensifies the time spent on his mobile device in order to attain the mood modifying effects previously mentioned. In other words, to experience a "rush", they accumulate an increased of amount of time spent.
These are the distasteful mental and physical side effects that transpire when one is away from his mobile device, or breaks off from them. For example, the restlessness, irritability, moodiness and inability to focus, etc.
This denotes the intrapersonal conflicts mobile device users may have with others or when engaging in other other acitvites (i.e, school, extra curricular activities, socialising, pursuing of interests) or even a conflict(struggle) within themselves upon realisation that they are using too much time on their devices. Typically, this could originate from subjective feelings of a loss of control.
This is the inclination for repeated deteriorations to earlier patterns. In the most extreme of cases, the compulsive behaviour can be quickly reinstated after cycles of abstinence or control - i.e., repression.
Having effectively defining addiction, it is important for you to ponder on what are you actually addicted to? Are you addicted to its interactive methods or certain aspects of the activity? For example, an anonymous activity or as an evasion/excuse. Finally, what is the specific function of your device which you are addicted to? Questions like such have often been disputed amongst psychologists. However, I believe that it is non-definite, and will vary amongst individuals. Hence, it is of overriding importance, you understand your situation and take charge of it.
Of course, the addiction criterion has its share of criticism. Most researchers classify that problems using these four points.
The main problem is that the measures use
1. have no measure of severity
2. have no temporal dimension
3. have a tendency to overestimate the prevalence of problems, and
4. take no account of the context of usage
As a result, there surveys and data research can never be entirely conclusive. Hence, it hinges on how you view your situation and if you are willing to further understand it and take measures. With that, I remain optimistic that our site has served as a valuable reminder for your decisions.
1. Anyaka for the image. (29th March 2009)
2. Professor Mark Griffiths for his book on Diagnosis and Management of Video Game Addiction. (29th March 2009)