How the World is Promoting Addictive Behaviors

Edited by Paul Alexander

Last updated July 3, 2014

When the word “addiction” is spoken, most individuals immediately think of substance abuse, such as drug and/or alcohol addiction. However, in today’s world, the word “addiction” does not just apply to substance abuse, rather it applies to the type of behaviors that we are developing as a result of our ever-growing, progressive world.

Addiction, while defined as being the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing or activity, is often driven by our psychological need for something. This drive comes from needing to fill a space that feels hollow, which causes us to lean towards the use of anything and everything that will help make us fill that hollow feeling. As a result, we often begin using something to excess, and this “something” can be anything – including technology.

How Technology Has Increased Addictive Behaviors

Since the beginning of time, individuals have worked towards making their surroundings more efficient, superior and of course, more pleasurable. As time has moved forward, so has our desire to increase our technological status. As we continue to search for something to feel our need for more, we have developed into a society that is on the cutting edge of technology. This technology, such as social media, internet marketing, and more is extremely beneficial to us, as it helps us stay connected. However, there are many downsides of this type of technological advancement, including its relationship with the development of our addictive behaviors. The many ways in which technology has increased our addictive behaviors includes:

  • Instant gratification – With almost every single piece of technology that we come in contact with, we expect instant gratification. We do not accept slow-running computers or apps that freeze up our phones. Instead we demand that our technology runs efficiently, as we are not satisfied with any other result. Similar to a having a substance abuse problem, we have become dependent on our electronics and demand that they work when we need them to, rather than try again later.
  • Desiring more – To keep up with the constant growth of technology, we are always striving to get the latest electronics, apps, or equipment to help us to do so. We are constantly on the lookout for more, and when we do not receive more, we quickly lose our interest and move on to something else that will give us more until our desired excitement is achieved.
  • Emotional attachment – Have you ever left your phone at home for the day, and complained that you don’t know how to function without it? This is a prime example of how we have grown emotionally attached to technology, almost making us dependent on devices such as cell phones and iPads. This technological dependency is a surefire sign of the development of addictive behaviors in the general public.

The true dangers behind these technological advancements and the addictive behaviors that they promote is that we as a society are accepting and promoting the development of addictive behaviors that can impact the many areas of our lives. Similar to a substance abuse problem, addictive behaviors stemming from technology can invade our personal and professional lives, making us suffer the consequences of our newly developed behaviors. As these advancements in technology continue, and we keep searching for instant gratification, looking to get more and staying emotionally attached to our electronics, we can easily begin losing sight of the behaviors and control that help keep us from following our desires down a negative path.

Article Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.


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