“Addiction Swapping” is a term used in early recovery when a repetitive and possibly harmful habit is picked up to compensate for the absence of drugs and alcohol. During the first few years of recovery, the brain is adjusting to life without chemical alteration, specifically the hyperproduction of pleasure. Out of a compulsive need to not ‘feel’, numb out, or escape, other addictions like food, sex, or even use of technology, can be adopted.
An ever-increasing technological world is an easy route to technology addiction, which is gaining validating evidence. Not wanting to rob a loved one of simple pleasures that may be making their difficult recovery process easier, family members may be hesitant to intervene with technology abuse. However, it is critical that loved ones in recovery learn how to live with themselves and every feeling involved. The below information should help with making an informed decision and taking action to support a loved one in recovery with a new addiction to technology.
Signs of Technology Abuse
- Drop in time management
- Demonstrating symptoms of craving
- Sentiments about escapism or living in another world
- Isolation and Social Seclusion
- Noticeable Shift in Physical Health, Attitude and Behavior
Suggestions for Technology Moderation
Casually inquire about their activities
Notice if they are laughing or are upset. If there is no emotion, they may be using to numb out. Use light-hearted statements to interrupt their activity and ask them about what they are doing
Converse before Convicting
Before punishing or blaming your loved one for acting within their addiction, talk to them about this choice of behavior. There may be a need to seek more support or engagement with recovery. Ask them why they feel a need to escape and how you can help them create a plan for taking action in their recovery.
There was once a world before technology. Research shows that just 30 minutes of being submersed in nature can alleviate symptoms of depression and improve mental health overall. Other research has shown that an extended amount of time spent on social media or engaged in technology can lead to depression and feeling of isolation. Find fun activities outside that won’t require the use of a phone. Create a device-free day, or even ask the household to participate in technology-free time each evening when the family spends time together playing games, preparing a meal, or some other activity.