Technology has become increasingly necessary to modern daily life. Not only has it become essential for upkeeping a social life or career, but it has also taken over the dating world. Technology undeniably has many benefits, such as keeping you connected with family or helping promote smaller businesses. However, dependence on technology can lead to addiction, and technology addiction fuels substance use in many cases.
It may not always be apparent, but technology addiction and substance use disorders (SUDs) are connected. They often co-occur. When they do, dual diagnosis treatment may be required. Whatever the situation, NorthStar Transitions can help people seeking treatment for both. We can help you return to truly living life instead of losing yourself in technology and substance use.
Benefits of Technology as a Tool
The reality of our world today is that technology is a global tool that is here to stay. The virtual world is more prevalent, especially with the rise of remote work and virtual education programs. While we must accept the use of technology today, we must also understand its true purpose and the dangers of misusing it.
Technology is, first and foremost, a tool designed to augment reality. Unfortunately, not everyone uses technology prudently. Countless people live their whole lives through a screen, whether dependent on technology for work, dating, or other things. However, before considering the risks of technology, consider the benefits. Technology has the following benefits:
- Increases access to information
- Keep us connected to people living far away
- Creates new jobs and makes remote work possible
- Encourages learning and education from anywhere
- Reduces geographical limitations that can be limiting
However, there are also many disadvantages of technology, including:
- Impaired in-person social skills
- Privacy concerns
- Increased rates of mental health conditions, such as social anxiety disorder
- Despite the ability to create jobs, the risk of job cuts due to emerging artificial intelligence (AI) programs
- The development of Internet or technology addictions
When used correctly, technology can be a formidable tool in helping people improve their careers, educations, and themselves. However, it is so easy to get wrapped up in what the rest of the world is doing that we forget to focus on ourselves. Unfortunately, this also means it is more challenging to recover from technology addiction.
What Is Technology Addiction?
Technology addiction, sometimes referred to as internet addiction, is a relatively new phenomenon over the past few decades. Even in 2012, research recognized “problematic computer use” as a growing social concern. Despite the problem, more research is needed to understand internet addiction. For example, some professionals believe it occurs because of pre-existing behavioral issues. Regardless, more young adults or college-aged individuals seem to be developing internet addictions.
With the increased prevalence of this addiction among young adults, we must be able to recognize the signs and symptoms. Some of those potential signs of internet addiction include:
- Spending a significant amount of time on the internet
- Neglecting relationships or family and professional responsibilities to spend time on the internet
- Experiencing anxiety, depression, or other negative emotions when you can not go on the internet or use technology
- Using technology to cope with other mental health conditions
- An inability to control or stop internet and technology use
Technology addiction is very similar to other behavioral addictions, including sex, food, or video games. Using technology becomes a compulsive habit that people do to try to cope with deeper underlying problems. Though they think it is helping them cope, in reality, technology addiction fuels other mental health conditions.
How Technology Addiction Fuels Mental Health Conditions
As mentioned, people with internet addictions use technology similar to gambling, sex, or video games. They are trying to cope with an underlying concern. That may include dealing with anxiety and depression or a deeply rooted trauma from their past. Finding the line between necessary and unnecessary technology use is challenging in a world where technology is pivotal to day-to-day life.
Many with a technology addiction may not realize it degrades their mental health. Individuals who spend significant time with technology may notice changes in social skills, confidence, self-esteem, and overall well-being. The more time we spend in front of a screen and less time in the real world, the more we may struggle with ourselves.
Technology Addiction Fuels Substance Use and Harmful Behaviors
Another factor to consider is how more technology leads to less human contact. Individuals who live alone, work from home and lack in-person connection because of this may find themselves more inclined to drink or use drugs. Humans require in-person contact, even individuals who are shy, quiet, and avoid social situations. Addiction can develop quickly whether you use technology for school, work, or personal use. If untreated, this may only make it a matter of time until you use substance use to manage the isolation and loneliness associated with uncontrolled technology use.
Despite struggles with SUD and how technology addiction fuels substance use, there is hope. If left untreated, these addictions can wreak havoc. As a result, NorthStar Transitions encourages you to seek treatment with us. You should feel empowered to seek treatment and navigate a life of recovery today.
With the continued prevalence of technology use across the country and the globe, people need to educate themselves on the dangers of technology addiction. Excessive technology use occurs for many reasons, including professional and personal use. However, the more time we spend in front of a screen, the more our overall well-being is at risk. Technology addiction can lead to substance use, which may lead to substance use disorder (SUD). Because technology addiction fuels substance use in many instances, individuals must seek proper treatment for these dependencies. NorthStar Transitions can offer such assistance. To learn more about our programs and free yourself from active addiction to substances and technology, call (303) 558-6400 today.