By Dana Sanchez
Every time we like, swipe or tweet something on our smartphones, we are increasing our digital dependency and our addiction dopamine, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. That could be causing the rising rates of anxiety and depression in affluent countries such as the U.S., according to addiction expert Dr Anna Lembke.
Lembke is chief of Stanford University’s dual diagnosis addiction clinic, catering to people with more than one disorder.
She does not deliver good news in her latest book, “Dopamine Nation.” Bottom line: we are now all addicts to some degree.
Lembke likens the smartphone to a modern-day hypodermic needle that we use for quick hits, validation, attention and distraction. We are obsessed with instant gratification, she writes, and ehavioral addictions (as opposed to substance addicitions) have soared since 2,000. Every spare second is an opportunity to be stimulated online.
During an interview with The Guardian, Lembke pointed out to interviewer Jamie Waters an “unhealthy attachment” to his iPhone, “checking it every few minutes like a compulsive tic (sound familiar?).” Lembke suggested abstaining from using it for at least 24 hours by locking it in a drawer and going out.