At Paradigm San Francisco, we provide treatment for Teen Cell Phone Addiction, which is categorized as a Behavioral Disorder, in which teens have compulsive behaviors with their cell phones, which have negatively affected other areas of their lives. The behaviors can include any number of cell phone functions, including: texting, social media and internet browsing, games, and more. Some of the ways in which the compulsive cell phone use may cause harm in teens’ lives include things such as distracting teens to the point where their school work suffers; where they fail to meet responsibilities; their relationships suffer; and they withdraw from other activities and people.
Cell Phone Addiction Symptoms
While cell phone use in and of itself of course isn’t harmful, it’s the compulsory nature of cell phone addiction behavior that can cause considerable harm in teens’ lives. Teens with cell phone addiction become constantly fixated on the idea of checking and/or being on their phones, and as they retreat into this behavior, they become less and less present in their real lives. For instance, if teens are always checking their phones to see social media updates, they often won’t be able to be present in conversations with people, because they’re more fixated on what’s happening online. Furthermore, they’ll be unable to put their phones away even during times when they’re specifically asked not to, such as during movies, during family dinners, and through important conversations. Some teens can become so preoccupied that they will even sleep with their phones and wake up to check them, throughout the night. It’s important to recognize that this behavior becomes so mechanical that teens might be unaware of how preoccupied with their phones they are, and how this behavior is hurting other areas of their lives.
The mechanical nature of teens’ behaviors is also problematic because over time, teens become more and more reliant upon their phones, and less and less comfortable being present in their lives. This makes it difficult for teens to follow through on necessary responsibilities, such as focusing on school work; practicing a sport; and spending meaningful time with peers and family members. In this sense, this behavior can become a way for teens to hide from their current circumstances. For instance, if teens are feeling anxious or depressed, they might look to their phones to provide a type of rush of positive adrenaline and/or escape from their “real world.” If they’re having trouble in social situations, teens can retreat into looking at their phones, in order to not have to navigate real-life interactions. Lastly, this kind of cell phone addiction often causes a sense of agitation and anxiety to teens, even if they’re unable at first to recognize it as such.
Paradigm San Francisco Teen Cell Phone Addiction Treatment
At Paradigm San Francisco, we approach teen cell phone addiction treatment from a holistic standpoint, in conjunction with considerations of teens’ current physical health, emotional and mental health symptoms, and life and relational struggles. We also pay special care to diagnosis and treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders, such as Teen Anxiety and Teen Depression. One of the first aspects of teen cell phone addiction treatment is all teens agree to careful structure and guidelines pertaining to cell phone use, while at Paradigm San Francisco. While some teens may initially be resistant to this, very often we find that all teens voice feeling extreme relief from being free of their phones, and being able to “disconnect” authentically. Then, our therapists work with teens to help them evaluate and recognize the patterns in their behaviors, while evaluating how those behaviors may stem from deeper emotional stressors and/or feelings. We then also work with teens in behavioral therapy context, helping them to identify ways to alter their cell phone use moving forward, in order to maintain the ability to be present and enjoy their own lives.