The web of addiction tempts all

Gadget addiction

We don’t know for sure if excessive smartphone usage is the cause for marital discord, or if an underlying cause drives people towards this smartphone overuse and addiction.

However, psychiatrists have found a relation between the two.

Couples who walk into their clinic have mobile phone overuse as a factor to blame.

Dr Diwakar Goutham N, a psychiatrist at Narayana Health, cites that of late, he has been seeing multiple cases where couples have concerns about infidelity, lack of attention or loss of interest in the partner, and the same is attributed to the use of phones.

“Whatever the case, everyone
seeks quality time in a relationship. But when their significant other spends too much time on the phone, it does lead to conflict. Couples also say their sex live has been dysfunctional,” said Diwakar.

He added that in the general psychiatry unit, there are a few people who seek treatment for mobile phone addiction in particular. However, many during counselling sessions are found to be guilty of overuse.

“When people try to say let us stick to navigation for just 10 minutes, it does not work. Everyone is prone
to addiction.”

He said those with depression and anxiety could find relief in using the phone, causing addiction.

“Previously, when someone was depressed, distraction techniques we used encouraged people to listen to music. Now patients come back to us and say they get restless before the song even ends. The ability to have a sustained concentration is decreasing,” said Diwakar.

The hospital has also seen cases of mobile phone addiction among senior citizens! Psychiatrists explained that they were equally prone to it. While some were hooked onto it as a form of entertainment to ward off boredom, for some others, addiction story began with innocent curiosity.

Doctors have seen cases among senior citizens so severe that they had forgotten to take medications crucial for curing their chronic conditions and indulged in physical abuse.

Meanwhile, psychiatrists also explained that women, homemakers in particular, are also among those prone to it.

Dr Rajini Pai, a senior psychiatrist at Manasa Nursing Home in Shivamogga, said that most of these women come for marital disharmony caused by online relationships.

“In case of homemakers, it causes loss of interest in housework, unhealthy friendships on chat forums, frustration due to comparison on social media, and online-shopping addiction,” she pointed out.

She attributed these largely to loneliness, easy access to phone and low cost of 4G networks. “Besides, everyone has privacy to the information accessed. The lack of hobbies or socialisation, and other pre-morbid psychiatric illnesses predispose people to the addiction,” Pai added.

Counsellors mention that with easy access and widespread connectivity,    Internet addiction is now all-pervasive and not limited to urban areas.

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