Digital dependence is genuine and it could be as dangerous as drug use, cautioned psychiatrists while plotting practical approaches to fight the urge to use devices non-stop both among children and adults.
The notice came following reports of a 24-year-old mother ending it all a week ago in Tamil Nadu after she kept from using TikTok and a 16-year-old student from Madhya Pradesh enduring a major heart failure and losing his life after playing PUBG for six straight hours a month ago.
The way to fighting digital addiction is to understand the issue when someone develops it, the experts said.
“The two most significant things that people need to do is keep up a balance between work, life indoor, outdoor recreation and social commitments. One must likewise ensure they are getting appropriate sleep. It is essential,” Samir Parikh, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, told IANS.
Parikh additionally suggested that adults should undergo 4 hours of “digital detox” every week – a period when they do not use their phone or any device.
“If one finds it hard to go through those 4 hours, at that point there is an issue which needs to be addressed,” he said.
People who are addicted to using devices, tend to get “withdrawal side effects” as continually thinking about that them, or getting irritable with disturbed rest when they attempt to stop using their gadgets, said Sandeep Vohra, Senior Consultant, Psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.
“Digital habit is as terrible as an addiction to any other drug. So in the event, you are hit by digital addiction, the signs are that you really tend to go off your typical routine life. You are constantly dependent and on the screen,” Vohra told IANS.
Such people can disregard individual cleanliness and their own self. They additionally tend to stop communicating with the general public, with their family members and stop considering their duties or stop doing their day-to-day chores.
“One can have clinical depression, anxiety, obsessive symptoms, insomnia, irritability, and trouble in focusing on different things.
“And you can have in uncommon cases, when one becomes over-dependent, psychosis. So you must know about this and it can be very challenging if you don’t understand that you are going into dependence,” Vohra added.
It is not simply adults who are vulnerable to digital addiction as the use of smartphones and various gaming gadgets have turned common among children.
But do we know when a child begins showing signs of addiction and when to look for assistance?
The experts recommended that parents should be alarmed when they see that a child’s ability to live life typically has got affected and they lash out gravely when digital access is denied.
“Parents need to be good examples. If parents invest a lot of time on digital devices then children learn and pursue by example. Encourage kids to be social and develop hobbies,” Parikh said.
“If you continue focusing your child’s attention on indoor exercises there are higher chances of him/her becoming digitally addicted. In this manner support him/her to play sports or meet friends and family. Pursuing is additionally a great method to combat boredom if indoors,” he added.
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Vohra recommended that when parents understand that their child is investing too much time on screen, it is significant first to have a dialogue with the child and ask them to cut down on media consumption.
“If they feel that either the kid is not reacting the way they want, or if they feel that the kid is attempting to tell them lies and still using time on screen, at that point, it’s better to consult a mental health professional,” Vohra educated.