Are you actually addicted to your smart phone?
September 27, 2012 2 Comments
New data suggests that it might be possible. It looks like your brain gives you a little dopamine push every time your check your phone for a new message. Turns out we are wired for data. From way back our brain learned to reward us for finding essentials key to our survival, like food and water by giving us a little shot of dopamine. “New research shows that the brain also uses dopamine to reward information seeking.” 1 And once the dopamine reward system is engaged it continues to reinforce that behavior.
According to Wikipedia “Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of highly addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system.”
Dopamine can be good as it rewards behaviors necessary for survival, but it also has a dark side when it overwhelms our brain and elevates one type of reward over another, like drugs or alcohol over food. At the risk of sounding like an expert, which I’m not, this may explain why it’s so hard for us to pull ourselves away from our screens. It actually feels good when we get a text message. So like any potentially addicting thing, consume in moderation, watch that it doesn’t negatively impact your key relationships…. and for goodness sake, don’t forget to brush your teeth. Addicts always have the worst teeth.
1 Selhub MD, Eva M.; Logan ND, Alan C. (2012-03-27). Your Brain On Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality (pp. 40-41). John Wiley and Sons. Kindle Edition.