If you are looking at your phone screen all the time, spending considerable time checking your emails, social media accounts, reading news, it is pretty likely that you need a digital detox.
Human addiction to gadgets is now emerging as a significant source of distress. If not handled in a timely way, it may lead to increased anxiety, depression, low energy levels, chronic fatigue, and other mental health issues.
The problem these days is not lack of information, but rather too much information. The human brain needs periods of relaxation; it needs frequent breaks. Moreover, too much engagement in mental work and less physical activity is becoming a cause of many health disorders. Digital technology has created this new problem and thus a need to find novel treatments.
Digital addiction is for real
Digital addiction is causing changes in the brain's reward pathway, motivation, and memory. This can cause significant distress in the long run, though many may not realize it. This addiction to digital media or smartphones is also causing loneliness that researchers sometimes call phoneliness.
Too much information is keeping people busy most of the time. It also means increased multitasking. However, ultimately it causes mental burnout.
Digital addiction is increasingly now accepted as a mental health disorder. For example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-5) in the US already has a diagnosis of "internet gaming disorder," and WHO also describes "gaming disorder" in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Eleventh Revision (ICD-11).
So, digital addiction exists, though it is still a developing subject in medical science. Despite being a widespread problem, one is not likely to be diagnosed with the condition. As one can see, WHOs definition only covers gaming disorder to date, but not addiction to other digital media.
However, nowadays, the smartphone is a more significant issue. And, worst, most people appear to be addicted to digital media in one way or another.
Digital detox to manage stress, anxiety, and depression
Yes, a digital detox is for real, and it is now a valid therapy with many studies. It may include taking a timeout from electronic devices. Or it may mean limiting the smartphone use for some limited purposes.
To date, it was unclear if digital detox would help. But, now, early studies show that it can help. However, the results of the studies are mixed.
There are some challenges, and digital detox is still an emerging science, and very little is known about what works and what does not. Nonetheless, all-digital detox methods emphasize the need to abstain from excessive use of TV, smartphones, and other digital tools.
To conclude, digital addiction is a significant and emerging health problem. Fortunately, it is possible to manage the condition through digital detox. It requires limiting the use of gadgets, some abstinence. Additionally, one can also use digital technology to find solutions, improve work life balance, and even find the right kind of job to stay stress-free.
Other than opting for digital detox to address mental burnout, if you are experiencing overwhelming workload and contemplating a change of career path to being a locum-based healthcare professional, connect with Pacific Rehab & Therapy. We'd be most glad to partner with you in this journey of change and empowerment.