Modern day addictions are yet to be fully accepted or understood by the masses. I am not talking about the things that we generally consider as addictions such as drugs, alcohol or tobacco. What I am talking about are those addictions that are less substance based and more behavioural based.

I have spent a significant amount of time trying to gain an understanding of the differences in addictions and have also spoken to some school teachers to see if they feel I am on the right track. It appears there is merit in some of my research.

My concerns in addiction are around technology in particular and I will focus on this. I am not just talking about Internet or gaming addictions but also the whole social networking arena. The key is we cannot treat addictions in this area in the same way as substance addictions. The primary difference is someone with a substance addiction is wanting more of the same. With these others what people are desperate for is something different or new which is why people spend so much time gaming. looking for porn or on their computer or smart phone in general. These are referred to as arousal addictions.

We all know people who will sit in front of their computer and just basically stare at the FB wall looking for a new post to appear, or someone who even when not doing that will every 10 or 15 minutes check their wall whilst at home. These are the signs of that kind of addiction. You don’t have to be doing this all day, but even if it’s only when you are at home that you do this, you need to be careful. These addictions are being fuelled by factors such as check in apps such as FB check in or Foursquare and games that make you come back regularly to plant crops or collect coins.

As with binge drinkers who say because they only do it once a month it’s not an addiction, tech addictions can be brushed off pretty easily however they potentially are addictions. The best way to see is whilst you are in your normal routines, so during the week or similar (not during a trip away or some other routine change), go for two whole days without going onto your computer. If you during that time find yourself struggle at all in not going online or find yourself a little anxious than that should be a sign that maybe you need to dig a little deeper.

I have times when I have found myself going through this type of addiction myself and have to pull back. This doesn’t mean that it’s something to be afraid of just something that we need to be mindful of. It’s easy when dealing with technology to neglect the real world and the people around us. Spend time alone without using the computer or smart phone. Think about things that are really important like how to improve the relationships you have or building your future. You may be surprised how far you can get when not spending all this time online.