How Anxiety and Depression Are Linked to Frequent Cell Phone Use
Most people say they couldn’t go a day without their smartphones, but experts warn that these devices may increase the risk of depression and anxiety.
Technology is constantly evolving. Just a couple of years ago we were using phones that barely had a camera that took low quality photos. Today, we use smartphones with not one, but two cameras, a plethora of apps, and needless to say, we spend most of our free time browsing through social media and instant messaging services.
Most people say they couldn’t go a day without their smartphone. However, experts warn that these devices, while useful and practical, may increase the risk of depression and anxiety. Is that really true? Read on to find out.
Are your mobile devices really related to anxiety and depression?
Tayana Panova and Alejandro Lleras of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducted a study to see if the phone is detrimental to mental health. For the purpose of the study, the researchers surveyed more than 300 college students.
Participants had to complete questionnaires that addressed their mental health, amount of phone and Internet use, as well as motivation to use their devices.
The main aim of the questionnaires was to examine whether addictive and self-destructive phone and Internet behaviours are associated with mental health. The results of this study were published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior and showed that participants who described their attitude towards the internet and smartphone as addictive scored higher on the anxiety and depression scales.
More Evidence That Cell Phone Addiction Is Linked to Depression
The link between mobile device use and depression is the subject of numerous studies, mainly because experts are confident that excessive use of these devices can affect your mental health. For example, David Mohr and the team of scientists at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine conducted a study involving 28 participants. The scientists tracked two weeks of phone use and GPS data from the participants’ phones.
The results of this were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research and showed that the more time a person spent on their phone, the more likely they were to be depressed.
In fact, the average daily smartphone use by participants with depression was 68 minutes. On the other hand, participants who did not have depression used their phone for 17 minutes.
The GPS analysis also showed that participants with depression spent more time at home or in fewer places compared to their counterparts. The scientists also noted that smartphone data was 87% accurate in identifying people with depression.
Are you addicted to your cell phone?
Throughout this article, you’ve had the opportunity to learn about evidence that shows that constant excessive smartphone use can contribute to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, most people don’t even recognize signs of phone addiction. Below, you can see what they are:
Your phone is constantly in your hand
You can’t go a day without your phone
Phone battery dies in a few hours
You adjust your commitments according to the battery, i.e. if the battery is low, you will leave your appointment or lunch early so you can charge your phone.
You check your phone for no reason
You constantly have the feeling that you’re missing something if you don’t check your phone.
The first thing you do in the morning is check your phone and the last thing you do before you go to bed.
-You’re obsessed with notifications, updates, etc.
Your relaxation or de-stressing time does not involve turning off your phone.
Don’t go to places that don’t have wi-fi access.
The phone affects your daily life and work commitments.
People in your life have complained that you use your phone too much.
-You find yourself rushing to complete a school assignment or work project because you wasted too much time using your phone (usually instant messaging apps).
Free yourself from your mobile devices
Here are some tips if you want to end your digital addiction:
Don’t use your phone for the first 30 minutes after waking up.
-Create a phone-free time zone: turn off your phone or simply disconnect the wi-fi connection or switch to silent (so you don’t hear notifications) for 2 hours a day.
Never use the phone in your car
Don’t use your phone when you’re having a serious conversation with someone, or if you’re in a meeting, on vacation, etc. You don’t really need to check your phone while sitting in a coffee shop with your friend.
Don’t use the phone in bed and make sure it’s not even close by, p. don’t keep it under your pillow or on a bedside table.
Only use your phone when you NEED to, i.e., check your phone when you have a good reason to do so.
Keep in mind that the world won’t fall apart if you don’t check your phone and you’re not missing anything important.
Strive to experience the world around you to the fullest instead of ignoring it.