Medical Professionals Weigh in on Electronic Media Addiction
Media addiction or "internet disorders" have been researched now for many years. What medical professionals are finding is that media addiction is similar to alcoholism. Let's read what one modern professional has found in her research into compulsive media usage. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Christina Gregory, PhD (https://www.psycom.net/iadcriteria.html) on the signs and symptoms of internet disorders.
"Some evidence suggests that if you are suffering from [media addiction], your brain makeup is similar to those [who] suffer from a chemical dependency, such as drugs or alcohol. Interestingly, some studies link [media addiction] to physically changing the brain structure – specifically affecting the amount of gray and white matter in regions of the prefrontal brain. This area of the brain is associated with remembering details, attention, planning, and prioritizing tasks. …One of the causes of [media addiction] is structural changes to the prefrontal region of the brain… rendering you unable to prioritize your life, i.e., the Internet takes precedence to necessary life tasks."
"[Media addiction], in addition to other dependency disorders, seem[s] to affect the pleasure center of the brain. The addictive behavior triggers a release of dopamine to promote the pleasurable experience activating the release of this chemical. Over time, more and more of the activity is needed to induce the same pleasurable response, creating a dependency. [For instance] if you find online gaming or online shopping a pleasurable activity and you suffer from an addiction to the Internet, you will need to engage in more and more of the behavior to institute the same pleasurable feeling prior to your dependency."
What we learn from this article by Dr. Gregory is that a media addict's brain is similar to that of an alcoholic. We see that media changes the structure of the brain. That this structural change makes it so that we can't prioritize and manage our lives well. Like alcohol, there is also a physical component to media addiction: a release of dopamine that creates a pleasurable state in the media addict's body which then triggers a compulsion for more and more media to gain the same initial dopamine hit.
"Action Meeting" Formats for Media Sobriety Plans
Urge Surfing Worksheets
The Twelve Principles of MAA
Step 1—HONESTY about our addiction leads to ACCEPTANCE that our life is unmanageable
Step 2—FAITH in a Higher Power leads to BELIEF that we will be restored to sanity
Step 3—FAITHFULNESS in turning our will over to God brings GUIDANCE from this Source
Step 4—COURAGE to reflect on past behaviors leads to CLARITY to see the way out
Step 5—CONFESSION of our liabilities to another human being brings FREEDOM from guilt and shame
Step 6—WILLINGNESS to let God mold our character leads us to finally SURRENDER our resistance
Step 7—HUMILITY to ask for help from Sources Greater than Self leads to UNITY with all beings
Step 8—CONSIDERATION for those we have harmed leads to FORGIVENESS of self and others
Step 9 —INTEGRITY in making clear, clean amends brings PEACE of mind
Step 10—PERSEVERANCE in continuing to work the Steps brings TRANSFORMATION of character
Step 11—AWARENESS of God's guidance leads to KNOWLEDGE of right action and inner POWER to carry out those actions
Step 12—GENEROSITY in working with others leads to GRATITUDE for a beautiful life purpose
Hidden Principle: We absolutely insist on enjoying life.
CHEERFULNESS while working through daily challenges leads to LAUGHTER, and why shouldn’t we laugh? We have RECOVERED, and have been given the power to help others.