My inputs in Ahmadabad Mirror… on extensive use of technology

Aug 31 2014 : Mirror (Ahmedabad)
Are you discomgoogolated?
AM 31.8.14
Forty-year-old Rama (name changed), a working professional and a single mother to an 11-year-old boy, was having a hard time. Battling stress, anxiety and negativity, the normally cheerful woman had become a bundle of nerves, frustrated and irritable.Concerned with her behavior and its affect on her relationship with her son, Rama found herself at a psychologist’s office who diagnosed her with discomgoogolation -a feeling of distress or anxiety when unable to access the internet. Being a single parent constantly on the move, Rama was glued to her phone to keep tabs on her son and this led to technology related stress when requirement turned into an addiction.

Before you scoff at the idea of anyone suffering such an affliction, think again! How many times have you been stressed due to your inability to access the internet or when kept away from your gadgets?
EXTENSIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY HAMPERS MENTAL ABILITIES Anxiety disorder due to addiction to technology, including the internet, is on a high among Amdavadis, especially the youth.According to city psychologists, there has been a rise of almost 35 per cent in the number of patients diagnosed with technology addiction and resultant stress.

“This is not surprising considering the extensive use of mobile phones, internet, and social networking sites in an increasingly wireless and connected world.People’s compulsive urge to check their phones or other gadgets has increased and is affecting their mental health,“ says consulting psychiatrist Hansal Bhachech, who treats almost 10 new cases of technology disconnect disorder every month. “The rise in the number is alarming; this disorder is mainly seen among youngsters. The problem starts from normal anxiety disorder like continuously checking your mobile phone or increased frequency in posting status updates. The frequency gradually increases and in many cases, unless identified and treated early, this leads to depression, memory loss and severe damage to the hormonal system,“ Bhachech explains.

“I have a 14-year-old patient who suffers from screen addiction and anxiety. This is a condition where the patient is addicted to screens be it phone, TV, computer,“ shares consulting psychologist Prashantani. “The boy’s parents did not pay attention when the boy was given two phones. But when he became hyperactive and his studies suffered, they realised the damage done to child’s psyche,“ he shares.PATIENTS CONDITION THEIR MINDS LEADING TO ANXIETY According to an April 2013 report » CONTINUED TO PG 22 TECHNOLOGY CONNECT DISORDER

Disconnect anxiety is a feeling of discomfort that occurs when a heavy internet or electronic gadget user is unable to access the same.

SYMPTOMS » Constant access to social networking sites or surfing internet for hours at a time » Underlying anxiety, apprehension, or fear over comments on social networking sites » Difficulty in concentration » Excess energy, hyperactive activeness, inability to relax » Short-term memory loss » Difficulty in speech; lack of clarity of thoughts » Loss of emotional control; increased anger and irritation » Difficulty in learning new information

SOLUTION » Start with at least 10 minutes a day of “no-mobile“ time; increase it to an hour or two » Meditate for five minutes daily » Meet people in real time rather than over calls and messenger services » This is not a disease, it is a habit affecting your mental health; give it some time » “On your death bed, you’re not going to regret missing a few emails, text messages, or tweets.“

Paste this message on your office desk, your bedroom’s wall and on the dining table to keep yourself motivated in the healing process » If it seems tougher to deal with, consult a psychiatrist

the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) and Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), Ahmedabad registered 26 per cent growth rate in terms of internet users and was at the eighth position in the list of top 10 cities with maximum internet users. This number surely gives an idea about the way technology is gradually dominating our lives, but with health hazards.

“I have patients suffering from disconnect anxiety because they had gone holidaying to a place where mobile connectivity was an issue and they were unable to stay `connected’ to the world,“ says Bhachech, adding “people have forgotten to spend time without gadgets.They can’t withstand the vacuum created in the absence of gadgets and internet.“

The problem is “mind-conditioning“.

“As we get addicted to something, we often condition our mind with some specific set of expectations and responses. Take for instance the case of my 22-year-old patient Riya (name changed) who posted pictures of her vacation in Venice on a social networking site, expecting certain types of comments and likes from her friends and followers. In a way, she had conditioned her mind for a particular response.

But she was devastated when she did not get those expected “comments” from her friends,” shares Bhachech.

Or the 30-year-old businessman who has panic attacks and was diagnosed with ‘ringxiety’ disorder or phantom vibration syndrome — the sensation and false belief that one can feel one’s mobile phone vibrating or hear it ringing, when in fact the nothing of that sort is happening in real.

“He refused to separate his phone from him for even a minute and had to undergo extensive counselling,“ the psychologist adds.

Listing some more phobias,  “There are three types of disorders prevailing in the society due to technology.They are No-Mo phobia or nomophobia, the fear of being out of mobile phone; ringxiety and screen addiction.” “People in the age group of 15 to 40 years are most vulnerable to these disorders. And these are not to be disregarded as they can cause depression, insomnia, obesity due to anxiety-eating, irritability and poor decision making skills,” he added.


CYBERSICKNESS: Sense of nausea and disorientation similar to seasickness or carsickness, caused by graphical lag in virtual reality helmets. (Urban dictionary)

FACEBOOK DEPRESSION: When one sees how great other people’s lives are on Facebook compared to his.(Urban dictionary)

CYBERCHONDRIA: When one becomes so obsessed with medical websites they diagnose themselves with certain illnesses that more often than not they do not have. (Urban dictionary)

THE GOOGLE EFFECT: Tendency to forget info that can be found online by using search engines like Google.(Wikipedia)

AM 31.8.14(2)


3 Comments Add yours

  1. RATNA TRIVEDI says:

    really worth reading and nice Regards

  2. Nilesh Bhatt says:

    Thanks I will try to smart use of Technology which does not effect my happines

  3. nayana says:

    good article..

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