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Hung up on your cell phone? It could be an addiction

Dr. Drew suggests taking a break from your handheld device by leaving across the room for a few hours. (AP)
How to moderate cell phone addiction

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 6:34 am

WASHINGTON – It will come as no surprise to most Washingtonians, but more and more Americans are developing a serious cell phone addiction.

“If in fact there is such a thing as cell phone addiction, D.C. is a town that is guilty as charged,” Dr. Drew Pinsky tells WTOP.

But Pinsky cautions against the over-utilization of the term ‘addiction.’ The overuse of cell phones is not a biological addiction, rather a preoccupation or dependency, he says.

“Try putting that phone across the room for a second, and leave it there for a couple hours. See if after a while you don’t feel irritability, anxiety, preoccupation, a sense of desperation. That is in fact withdrawal symptoms.”

The Chicago Tribune recently featured a poll that asked the tough question: ‘Would you rather give up your toothbrush or your cellphone for an entire week?’ Twenty-two percent of people said they’d be okay with not brushing, according to a national survey in August by TeleNav Inc.

Apparently iPhone users are the worst offenders with 40 percent of them saying they’d give up their toothbrush.

While many cell phone users are guilty of checking their email, Twitter and texts a little too often, Dr. Drew says the dependency could be affecting more than just user’s free time.

“Just like addictions, it can affect work and school. It can affect relationships. And it can affect our legal status if you’re texting and preoccupied while you’re driving a vehicle.”

Dr. Drew says keeping cell phone use in check is the key to getting a handle on dependency.

“The problem is, those phones are working too well for us. The negative consequences don’t outweigh what they do for us. So, most of us just go on using them, accumulating some of those consequences. I don’t think we’re going to give it up.”

Dr. Drew admits he is also dependent on his cell phone, but is working to limit over-use. Like everything else, he says, moderation is the key.

Editor’s Note: Starting next Monday, don’t miss Dr. Drew’s “One Minute Clinic,” weekdays at 11:13 a.m. and 1:13 p.m. on WTOP Radio.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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