Behavior Addiction

  • Behavior addiction has been defined by the repeated failure to resist an urge to perform an act that is rewarding to the person (at least in the short-term), despite long term harm either to the individual or to others.
  • The most frequently observed behavior in individuals suffering from internet addiction is: unsuccessful attempts to control the behavior.
  • The addictive behavior is reinforced by the easy availability of internet through wireless mobile devices (WMDs).
  • The behavior patterns in addictive WMD users might be similar to those in drug addicts.

There are only two industries which refer to their customers as ‘users’: drugs and computers.
Edward Tufte

Dopamine is the Reward Hormone

  • Dopamine is one of the chemicals that is released in the brain in response to a REWARD related cue.
  • Every ding or chime from the wireless mobile device (WMD) causes a surge of dopamine in the brain.
  • Instantly, this surge of dopamine makes one ‘want’ to check what the ding was about! Was it a message, a new email, a social media update?
  • It is nearly impossible not to check! The craving is strong.
  • The ‘fear-of-missing-out’ (FOMO) takes over!
  • These changes occur over microseconds at a subconscious level.
  • We respond by reaching for the WMD, checking the cause of the ding and feel relieved and satisfied about soothing the craving.

Dopamine becomes the Anticipation Hormone

  • Over time, the feeling of ‘satisfaction’ becomes associated with the ding.
  • The mind becomes conditioned to process this association: DING CHECK, DING CHECK, DING CHECK
  • Dopamine is additive and keeps us coming back for more!
  • Repeated exciting stimuli might cause changes in the brain.
  • Eventually, dopamine might get released simply by the sight of the device…in ANTICIPATION of the reward, even if there is no reward.

The anticipation of reward (new message/email/social media update) becomes so strong that we check our devices even if there is no notification…
just in case there is something. NO DING STILL CHECK, NO DING STILL CHECK.
We are in a state of perpetual distraction.