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Smartphone overuse akin to substance abuse: Study

IANS  |  New York 

Do you find it hard to ignore new emails, texts and images even while spending time with family and friends? If so, it is time to mend your manners as a new study says that overuse of is just like any other type of

The findings published in the journal NeuroRegulation also showed that those who used their phones the most reported higher levels of feeling isolated, lonely, depressed and anxious.

"The behavioural addiction of use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief -- gradually," explained Erik Peper, at in the US.

The study involving 135 participants showed that addiction to social media may actually have a negative effect on social connection.

The researchers believe the loneliness is partly a consequence of replacing face-to-face interaction with a form of communication where body language and other signals cannot be interpreted.

They also found that the heaviest users almost constantly multitasked while studying, watching other media, eating or attending class.

This constant activity allows little time for bodies and minds to relax and regenerate, and also results in "semi-tasking," where people do two or more tasks at the same time -- but half as well as they would have if focused on one task at a time, Peper said.

Push notifications, vibrations and other alerts on our phones and computers make us feel compelled to look at them by triggering the same neural pathways in our brains that once alerted us to imminent danger, such as an attack by a tiger or other large predator, the researchers said.

"But now we are hijacked by those same mechanisms that once protected us and allowed us to survive -- for the most trivial pieces of information," said Peper.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, April 12 2018. 15:44 IST