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Digital addiction a psychiatric disorder: Experts

Do you find it difficult to leave your smartphone even for a minute or have cravings to check it without any real purpose? Chances are you have become an addict and need professional help.

  • Updated: June 17, 2014 12:06 PM IST
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digital-revolutionDo you find it difficult to leave your smartphone even for a minute or have cravings to check it without any real purpose? Chances are you have become an addict and need professional help. Also Read - Government reportedly planning to quarterly review compliance of social media companies in India

Also Read - India is creating an ecosystem to hold social media accountable: Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw

According to psychiatrists, medical authorities worldwide need to formally recognise addiction to internet and digital devices as a disorder. “Singaporeans spend an average of 38 minutes per session on Facebook, almost twice as long as Americans,” said a latest study by Experian, a global information services company. Also Read - US FCC commissioner wants Apple, Google to remove TikTok from app stores

According to Adrian Wang, a psychiatrist at the Gleneagles Medical Centre in Singapore, digital addiction should now be classified as a psychiatric disorder. “Patients come for stress anxiety-related problems but their coping mechanism is to go online, go on to social media,” Wang was quoted as saying in a South China Morning Post report. Obsession with online gaming was the main manifestation in the past but addiction to social media and video downloading are now the trend.

In terms of physical symptoms, more people, especially young, are reporting “text neck” or “iNeck” pain. “Many people have their heads lowered and are now using their mobile devices constantly on the go while queuing or even crossing the roads, leading to neck pain,” psychiatrists said. They define digital addiction by symptoms like inability to control craving, anxiety when separated from a smartphone, loss in productivity in studies or at work and the need to constantly check one’s phone.

  • Published Date: June 17, 2014 11:37 AM IST
  • Updated Date: June 17, 2014 12:06 PM IST
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