ADDICTION to technology: What is it, Causes, Symptoms, Consequences and Treatment

  • Jul 26, 2021
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Technology addiction: what is it, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment

The use of technology today represents enormous potential for communication, creativity and education, not However, its excessive use can carry risks and consequences, leading the person to an addiction to technology.

Addiction can affect any age, however, adolescents are especially vulnerable to it, because new generations are born with digital media, forming part of their day to day and their development, being their main source of information, socialization and communication. Therefore, it is necessary to know the possible risks and consequences that its excessive use entails, in order to prevent and treat addiction as quickly as possible.

Within the addiction to technology we can find addiction in video games, the Internet, social networks, nomophobia, etc. If you are interested in continuing to know how they develop addiction to technology, keep reading this Psychology-Online article where we will explain the technology addiction: what is it, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment.

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  1. Technology addiction: what is it?
  2. Use of technology today
  3. Video game addiction
  4. Internet addiction
  5. Social networks addiction
  6. Nomophobia
  7. Technology addiction: symptoms
  8. Technology addiction: causes
  9. Technology addiction: consequences
  10. Technology addiction: treatment

Technology addiction: what is it?

When we think of addiction, we relate the concept to the consumption of a harmful substance that leads to tolerance, dependence and withdrawal, which arise from the need of the person to take that substance to be able to face a new day, thereby stopping the feelings of emotional discomfort and / or physical.

When we speak of addiction to technology we try to adapt these terms to the concept of technology, since the technological instruments they lead to are the lost of control of the behavior of the person, where is tries to alleviate their emotional distress through technologies systematically, turning them into a refuge and generating the need to access them in the face of discomfort.

In order to be considered addictive behavior, the loss of control of the behavior must be present, over which the person cannot be without an element that generates addiction (social networks, Internet, video games, ...), generating with it dependence to these elements and causing feelings of anxiety, irritability, depression and despair when you can not make use of them, appearing in it the concept of abstinence and requiring more and more time in its use, thus increasing its tolerance.

Use of technology today.

In the last decades there has been a great advance in ICTs, information and communication technologies. There has been a exponential growth of these, increasing the diversity and specificity of the different devices and their uses, adding ease of access to them. These advances have allowed many benefits in our society, however they have required an adaptation of our daily habits, on which we must have an adaptation, which is not always healthy, because bad habits can be generated in the use of technology today, being able to reach a behavioral addiction towards them. So, the diversity and specialization they have achieved, as well as the possibility of accessing them from anywhere, have become the most triggering risk factors for their addiction.

Technology addiction is a very broad term. Therefore, we will explain some types of technology addiction, the most common, for example addiction to video games, the Internet, social networks and nomophobia.

Video game addiction.

The video game addiction has already been currently accepted by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a disease. This is recognized as an addiction, non-toxic, that is part of the behavioral addictions, on which a behavior that cannot be controlled is established. The person generates a very intense dependence on the video game, where they lose track of time, losing control about how long and how often they play. Faced with this, when the person cannot play, anxious feelings, stress and alterations in eating and sleeping behavior can appear. Video games become the refuge of these people, looking for alternate realities, thereby causing a certain Social isolation and a loss of personal relationships.

Technology addiction: what it is, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment - Video game addiction

Internet addiction.

When we talk about internet shopping addiction, internet sex addiction or gambling on-line, We are talking about independent addictions that use the Internet as a medium to be able to access the addictive element more immediately and anonymously. Internet addiction It is not the Internet itself, but what they are looking for through it. However, there are people who generate a dependence on the concept of the Internet in general, due to the inexhaustible number of ways of communicating and the new possibilities offered by the Internet every day day. The Internet is an instrument of interaction, work, information, leisure,... that can have many advantages, without However, people with Internet addiction remain absorbed in the network, changing their external reality for the virtual. Against this, a abusive behavioral pattern of the use of Internet, thus abandoning the activities that the person used to like, the search for information to starting from other methods, personal relationships and neglecting the different obligations and responsibilities. The great diversity offered by the Internet (being able to listen to music, watch videos, search for information, visit social networks, download movies, ...) is what generates its dependency, since it can satisfy any need that the person.

Social networks addiction.

Today, social networks have changed the way people communicate. Each person uses social networks for different purposes such as talking with friends, meeting new people, spreading news, promoting a job, etc. Through correct use, they can contribute to a great number of advantages. However, more and more social networks are being used to make identities false, showing what you think will be well seen by others, seeking approval constant. Over time, the need for validation from others can lead to serious problems of self-esteem since the person becomes dependent on the opinions of others. For this reason, Social networks addiction it has been on many occasions related to a low concept of oneself, which one tries to supplant with changes of one's own identity shown on the net. In this addiction, the addictive component is based on the speed of response, the immediate reward and the interactivity that social networks compromise, which causes a detachment from real life, self-esteem issues, difficulty in control and the appearance of anxiety when they cannot be used.


The term of nomophobia comes from "no-mobile-phone-phobia". The meaning of nomophobia refers to the anxiety that the person suffers when they cannot have their mobile phone, Invaded feelings of isolation, either because he has run out of battery, he has left his mobile at home, it has broken, etc. So we are talking about a dependence on mobile phone which has been linked to a phobia due to the intense anxious and obsessive feelings that are born in the absence of the device and disappear when the person returns to have the telephone.

Technology addiction: what is it, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment - Nomophobia

Technology addiction: symptoms.

Symptoms of technology addiction categorized as physical symptoms are as follows:

  • Eye strain
  • Hearing loss
  • Back pain
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Phantom vibration
  • Dequervain's syndrome
  • Teenage insomnia
  • Exclusive dependency
  • Thumb rhizartosis
  • Infertility
  • Childhood and youth obesity

On the other hand, the symptoms of psychological technology addiction are the following:

  • Isolation
  • Altered and compulsive behavior
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Communication problems
  • Language impoverishment
  • Sensitivity to comments of judgments and evaluations of others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor school performance
  • Depression

Technology addiction: causes.

The origin of technology addiction tends to be similar to the beginning of substance use. The person, faced with emotional and physical discomfort, seek a refuge in technologies, to alleviate different situations such as painful events, social anxiety, vital moments of stress, problems in the breast family, self-esteem problems,... Faced with this set of problems, the person seeks in new technologies a new reality in the screen. This process is normalized, because it is very different in the eyes of the population to seek refuge in a substance toxic, that in a distraction such as a video game, which in the first instance is not harmful to our Health. To all this, is added the immediate accessibility, lack of limits and the gratification of immediate rewards, such as the "likes" in social networks, which leads to the development of addictive behavior.

Technology addiction: consequences.

The consequences derived from the abuse of new technologies can be very diverse, attending to physical and psychological symptoms, as we have seen previously. The consequences of technology addiction can range from health problems such as obesity, such as psychological problems such as reaching a depression. However, one of the main repercussions of addictions to technology is the Social isolation that produce and absorption in a fictitious reality, which although it allows to establish interactions, These become colder and more distant, being able to generate great feelings of loneliness and depression.

Technology addiction: what it is, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment - Technology addiction: consequences

Technology addiction: treatment.

The cornerstone of addiction treatment is based on understanding that the problem does not lie with the object of addiction, be it social networks or a substance, but with the person. In view of this, the treatment must be adapted to each person and can be carried out both individually and in groups, with sessions lasting between 12 and 16 months. Treatment of technology addiction should cover all areas of the person, taking into account the family, their social, work or academic environment and their personal sphere.

In personal work it is important to work through a process of psychotherapy aspects such as self-esteem, acceptance of oneself, improvement in social skills and conflict resolution.

In relation to the family, it is of the utmost importance that there is a collaboration of this, although the family involvement will be different depending on each case. In general, family responsibilities tend to be redistributed, communication and trust work between the different family members, establish control and limits regarding the use of the object of addiction and propose strategies to use Front of conflict resolution.

When dealing with addictions that tend to appear in adolescence or youth, the environment of friends is very important, given its influence. The problem lies in the fact that many of the friendships are established through the Internet, which can lead the person to enter risk-inducing social groups. These groups on-line they could hamper the development of technology addiction treatment, so control should be put in place. It is important that the person regain contact with previous friends or start new ones, which suppose support for her.

In relation to the addictive object, a set of phases must be carried out. First, as in toxic substance addiction, there must be a period of "abstinence", that is, that the person stops making total use of the object that generates the addiction. Later, you can use it in front of someone else's control, until you finally learn to make controlled use of it.

How to prevent addiction to technology? For this, it is important to carry out a psychoeducational process where the person understands that they are necessary instruments in our society, but that they must be used in an appropriate way and teach them to make good use of them.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to Technology addiction: what is it, causes, symptoms, consequences and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Addictions.


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  • Vázquez, L.B. (2002). Addictions and new technologies. Project Man.
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