Smartphone addiction is not only real, but is becoming much more common and severe problem up and down the United Kingdom. The simple fact of the matter is that as we now live in a society where every single person is connected to every other person on a 24/7 basis, it’s inevitable that so many will develop compulsive habits. When used sensibly, mobile devices have the potential to be extraordinarily beneficial and serve as outstanding social tools. When abused however, it is not uncommon for mobile devices to exacerbate a variety of underlying problems – examples including loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress.

The Harmful Effects Of Smartphone Addiction

Defining Addiction

In terms of exactly where the line is drawn between heavy smartphone use and full blown addiction, it all comes down to simple dependency. One of the best ways of evaluating whether or not you yourself may have a genuine smartphone addiction to address is to ask yourself how you would cope if you were suddenly denied your smartphone for any given period of time. For some people, not having a smartphone for a while comes as something of a blessing or relief. For others, it is the kind of nightmare that they absolutely cannot even begin to comprehend and would undoubtedly enter into a state of incredible anxiety, until the device was returned to them. Those who fall into the latter bracket may be wise to consider professional advice.

Effects of Smartphone Addiction

On the surface, it is understandable why so many choose to question whether or not smartphone addiction really is the kind of addiction that warrants professional attention. After all, those concerns do not appear to necessarily be doing anything particular harmful to themselves or to anyone else.  Nevertheless, the more reliant you become on your mobile device, the bigger the effect and impact it can have on your life in general. It may not be as immediately toxic or deadly as addiction to a dangerous substance, but this doesn’t mean it cannot and will not detrimentally impact your life.

The experts at list the following as just some of the harmful effects of smartphone addiction:

  • Exacerbated Loneliness – First and foremost, smartphones can be somewhat deceptive in the way in which they can make you feel as though you always have a friend in your pocket and therefore have the perfect solution for loneliness at all times. In reality however, while immersing yourself in online activities may temporarily stop the feelings of loneliness, in the long-term doing so will only make things worse. A variety of studies have drawn direct links between smartphone overuse and feelings of anxiety, depressions and loneliness – especially among young adults and teenagers.
  • Poor Focus – Something else to be aware of is the fact that if you are constantly interacting with or in some way preoccupied with your smartphone, you cannot expect to give your full focus to anything else at all. This in turn means that whether you are studying, working or involved in any kind of project whatsoever, your focus may suffer and your overall performance will not be up to par. Problems with focus may be exacerbated significantly if you cannot access or use your device for any given reason.
  • Social and Domestic Issues – It is becoming quite normal (not to mention entirely depressing) to see families of all shapes and sizes largely ignoring one another, having become completely immersed in their own online activities. Nevertheless, there is usually a line that should and must be drawn when it comes to this kind of ignorance, which can be difficult for those with a genuine smartphone addiction. The simple fact of the matter is that if your social or domestic relationships have begun suffering due to your device usage, you may have an addiction to address.
  • Loss of Sleep – One of the most common signs of a genuine smartphone addiction is that of losing sleep on a regular basis due to interaction with the device in question. Some will find it almost impossible to log off at night and end up going to sleep much later than intended, while others may find themselves waking up at various junctures during the night and being compelled to reach for their devices. In both instances, this indicates a dangerous loss of control.
  • Anxiety and Fear – Last but not least, it is somewhat inevitable that those affected by genuine smartphone addiction will suffer extreme bouts of fear and anxiety when unable to access their devices for any given reason. This can in turn have a highly detrimental effect on both mental and physical wellbeing and is therefore grounds for further investigation, where detected.