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Is Obsessive Technology Use a Mental Health Disorder?

     Technology overuse and obsession are the most common habits among people of different ages that may cause mental disorders in individuals. Developing digital technology helps people to make communication easy and to perform their routine online and fast.  People also use the internet and digital media to face to face contact that helps to […]

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     Technology overuse and obsession are the most common habits among people of different ages that may cause mental disorders in individuals. Developing digital technology helps people to make communication easy and to perform their routine online and fast.  People also use the internet and digital media to face to face contact that helps to reduce depression. Time spent in using digital technology like smartphones, gaming apps, social media, the internet plays a crucial role in mental health. If individuals spend a long time in social media and playing games, in this situation, it can increase the risk of anxiety, isolation, and depression. Although reasonable use of technology has many benefits in people’s lives, obsessive technology use like excessive use of the internet, digital gaming, smartphones is a mental health disorder. It needs therapy and treatment by the psychiatrists because some people become addicted to the new technology that adversely affect to brain function and mental health.  

     Nowadays, internet addiction is the main problem in different communities that extreme use of the internet causes the mental problem of addicted people. Several studies have reported that excessive use of the internet can lead to mental health problems.  Yoo, Y et al. (199) examined the effects of internet addiction on 74,980 Korean middle- and high-school students who reported in the survey “suicidal ideation, depressive mood, moderate or higher subjective stress, moderate or more happiness,” related to problematic internet use. Their finding also indicated “adolescents at high risk for internet addiction had poor mental health outcomes” (Yoo, Y et al. 199). Based on the result of this study, it can be concluded that spending a lot of time on the internet might have adverse effects on mental health. Additionally, in another study, “a sample of 1,814 children and adolescents (aged 10–16 years old) from UK schools completed questionnaires about problematic internet use, behavioral problems, depression, anxiety, and health problems. Confirmatory Factor Analysis identified three independent factors: Neglect, Obsession, and Control Disorder. Using path analysis, and problematic internet use was significantly predicted by conduct problems, hyperactivity, impact on daily life activities, depression, and poorer physical health” (El Asam, A. et al. 428). According to the findings of some studies, having an addiction to Internet use can be harmful to mental health in different age groups of people.

     The internet-based and video gaming is one of the most popular hobbies and leisure in the world, especially in young people. Overly playing the games can be associated with mental health and behavioral issues, like relationship problems and depression. Findings of some scientists indicated that “aggression and narcissistic personality traits are positively correlated with online game addiction, whereas self-control is negatively correlated with online game addiction in 1471 online game users” (Kim, E.J. 212). Based on data analysis of their study, mental health issues such as aggression, narcissistic disorder severity increased on game players while playing the games had adverse effects on the ability to control the behavior of the participants. Also, other research was performed with 293 respondents aged from 13 to 24 years on an online survey about problematic gaming behavior on mental health in Finland. Analysis of data showed “Problematic gaming behavior was found to relate to psychological and health problems, namely fatigue, sleep interference, depression and anxiety symptoms” (Manniko, N et al. 281). Therefore, when game addicts occupy their time with the game playing, they face many mental difficulties, including decreased social interaction, blurting the aggressive behavior, and depression.   

      Moreover, digital technology addiction is one of the essential causes of stress that has adverse effects on mental health. The study based on an online survey from university students the 300 of them answered the questionnaires showed that smartphone addiction might increase the stress, and had negative effects addicted people the satisfaction of lives and their academic performance (Samaha, N. and Hawi, S. N. 321). Also, the results of other studies identified that smartphone addiction could increase depression in adults; however, the reasonable usage of smartphones is advised, which might reduce depression in younger adults (Alhassan, A.A et al. 1).  Billieux, A, C, S, et al. (252) investigated the effects of technology on mental health on 23533 adults that participated in an online survey, and findings of their research showed that addictive technology use significantly related to mental disorder. Although extreme users of the technology may show some symptoms of mental disorder, when used sensibly, users can find its great value on their learning, research, communication, entertainment, business, and access to useful information.

   Using the technology for performing the daily task and resolving the problems can be more beneficial. Still, technology addiction can be defined as one of the main mental disorders that leads to depression, aggression, and stress between people who exaggerate in its usage. According to contradictory results that different studies have shown, it needs to be more investigated in future researches.  People who are addicted to using a different kind of digital technology, they should resolve their mental problem with psychiatrists.                                                                   

                                                               Work Cited

Alhassan, Aljohara A., Alqadhib, Ethar M., Taha, Nada W., Alahmari, Raneem A. Salam, Mahmoud., and Almutairi, Adel F. “The relationship between addiction to smartphone usage and depression among adults: a cross sectional study.” BMC Psychiatry. (2018) 18:148 p.1-8.

Billieux, J., Andreassen, C. S., Kuss, D. J., Griffiths, M. D., Mazzoni, E., Demetrovics, Z., and Pallesen, S. The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, (2016) 30(2). P. 252-262.

El Asam, Aiman., Samara, Muthanna., and Terry, Philip. “Problematic internet use and mental health among British children and adolescents.” Addictive Behaviors (2019) Vol. 90, P. 428-436.

Kim, Eun Joo., Namkoong, Kee., Ku, Taeyun., Kim, Se Joo. “The relationship between online game addiction and aggression, self-control and narcissistic personality traits.” European Psychiatry (2008) Vol: 23 p.212-218.

Mannikko, Niko.,  Billieux, Jöel, and Kaarianen, Maria. “Problematic digital gaming behavior and its relation to the psychological, social and physical health of Finnish adolescents and young adults.” Journal of Behavioral Addictions. (2015) 4(4), p. 281–288.

Samaha, Maya. and Hawi, Nazir, S. “Relationships among smartphone addiction, stress, academic performance, and satisfaction with life.” Computers in Human Behavior. (2016) Vol. 57: p. 321 -325.

Yoo, Yang-Sook., Cho, Ok-Hee., and Cha, Kyeong-Sook. “Associations between overuse of the internet and mental health in adolescents.” Nursing and Health Sciences. (2014), 16, p.193–200.

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