Breaking Free from Phone Addiction: 7 Facts and Tips to Help You

By now, almost everyone knows that we can be addicted to our digital devices. In the words of Anna Lembke, psychiatrist and addiction specialist at Stanford: “Almost everyone has a digital drug of choice, and it probably involves the use of a smartphone equivalent to a hypodermic needle for a wired generation. Phone addiction is the obsessive use of a smartphone. Behavioral addiction is often referred to as “nomophobia” or the fear of being left without a mobile device.

There are more than 3.8 billion smartphone users in the world. Research published by Virgin Mobile found that those billions of smartphone users receive 427% more messages and notifications than a decade ago. They also send 278% more text messages. The increase in telephone use seems like a natural necessity for modern life, however, it can also cause concern and negative consequences.

The intensive use of these devices causes consumers to question their cellular habits. According to Google Trends, searches for “cell phone addiction” have been on the rise since 2004. In other words, if you've ever wondered if that nervous feeling you get every time you go through Instagram is a sign of real addiction, you can officially stop wondering. This is a book with a message that couldn't seem more timely or more urgent: a thin volume full of information that serves as a guide to the cost that excessive use of smartphones can affect our physical and mental health, and a practical manual for a 30-day restart designed to put you on the path to moderation. And while that distraction seems like it should be temporary, its effects are actually chilling in the long run. This type of frequent and focused distraction, Price explained, is not only capable of creating lasting changes in our brain, but it's also particularly good at doing so.

There's still good news, namely, that we all have the opportunity to reverse course, correct our addictive behaviors, and find a relationship with our phones that feels productive and positive, not toxic. Where to start? Price laid out the plan thoroughly in the book, of course, but if you're eager to take immediate action, there are many small steps you can take right away. The first thing is to go to settings and turn off phone notifications. Next, download a tracking app, such as IOS Screen Time for iPhone and Digital Wellbeing for Android, that can help you get an idea of how much time in your waking life you actually spend looking at that small screen. Finally, banish your phone from your room and buy yourself a real alarm clock, such as a soft alarm clock, an alarm clock at dawn, or even a retro alarm clock. Some people try therapy and psychologists have even recommended medications to help treat related addictions, such as Internet addiction.

So, if you're still not convinced that the message applies to you, here are seven facts and some simple tips that may help you if you think you're addicted to the phone.

  • Family therapy can help.
  • Behavioral health treatment is available.
  • Detoxification centers offer programs.
  • Inhibitors play an important role in addiction.
  • Therapy can be beneficial.
  • Medications may be prescribed.
  • Small steps can be taken right away.
You approach treating this addiction to this process in the same way you would address other behavioral health issues. Start by turning off phone notifications, downloading tracking apps such as IOS Screen Time or Digital Wellbeing for Android to get an idea of how much time you spend looking at your phone screen. Then banish your phone from your room and buy yourself an alarm clock instead. If these steps don't help or if your addiction is severe enough that it's affecting your daily life then it's time to seek professional help. Family therapy can help address underlying issues related to phone addiction while behavioral health treatment can provide support and guidance on how to break free from this unhealthy habit.

Detoxification centers offer programs specifically designed for digital addiction while medications may be prescribed by psychiatrists or psychologists. Breaking free from phone addiction isn't easy but it's possible with dedication and commitment. Taking small steps such as turning off notifications or downloading tracking apps can help you get started on the path towards moderation. If these steps don't work then it's time to seek professional help from family therapists or behavioral health specialists who can provide support and guidance on how to break free from this unhealthy habit.