Has Digital Media Affected Process Addictions?

Has Digital Media Affected Process Addictions?

Digital media refers to a form of electronic entertainment, like computers, cellphones, iPods and tablets, which all share an endless amount of digital audio, video and photo content. Digital media is ubiquitous in today’s society, and it can affect almost every part of daily life. While digital media provides so much help, it certainly comes with its problems, as in the way it can affect addiction. Process addictions are behaviors (such as gambling, shopping and working) on which people become dependent for daily functioning. This type of addiction is as detrimental, and it is as difficult to overcome as substance addictions. Digital media sources have profoundly affected process addictions, as they both promote and normalize process addictions.

Twenty years ago many people had to leave the house and gather with other people when they wanted to gamble, shop or work. Nowadays, digital media gives people access to their every wish, and this constant connection can lead to habitual and eventually compulsive behavior. Process addictions often result from a person’s attempt to cope with or avoid something; whether it be stress, boredom, loneliness, sadness or discontent, problems may drive people to eat, shop, exercise or gamble to feel some temporary pleasure. Now, this temporary escape would not be so dangerous if people could actually make themselves feel better by performing a certain activity, but activities like gambling or shopping can affect the brain’s neurotransmitters just like drugs do. Activities that can be addictive affect chemicals in the brain to improve one’s mood and energy levels, so people will instinctually gravitate toward these behaviors in the future. In other words, these activities become compulsive coping mechanisms that can lead to full-blown addiction.

Now more than ever before, people can shop or gamble whenever they want to. Even surfing the internet can become addictive, as so many people develop compulsive needs to fill free time by checking their email, Facebook, twitter or Instagram accounts. Today’s society has become so accustomed to instant gratification that, in times of stress, loneliness, pain and etc., many people want to pop pills, drink or escape through some unhealthy coping method. Digital media allows an even quicker way to cope with unfortunate aspects of life, so people can become addicted to the activities they use to manage pain. For example, someone who is addicted to exercising has access to workout tips and weight-loss articles through digital media, which can fuel the addiction even when that person is not physically exercising. Also, gambling addicts may not be able to go to a casino any time of the day, but they can place bets, find online gambling sites, research spreads and more through digital media.

What makes process addictions more dangerous than drug addictions is that people are less informed about process addictions, so they often develop these problems unintentionally and unknowingly. There is little education on the warning signs of process addiction, so people may believe they are doing some harmless act since behavioral addictions offer no immediate evidence of physical harm, as with drug abuse. However, process addictions are dangerous problems, so seek professional help as soon as possible to break one.

If you would like to learn more about process addiction, then call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now to speak with one of our admissions coordinators. Our staff can provide the information and guidance you need to find professional treatment. Seek help now to begin your recovery.