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CAN ADDICTION TO SMARTPHONES TRIGGER ADHD?
We measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity by asking participants to identify how frequently they had experienced 18 symptoms of ADHD over each of the two weeks. These items were based on the criteria for diagnosing ADHD in adults as specified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The results were clear: More frequent phone interruptions made people less attentive and more hyperactive. These findings should concern us. Smartphones are the fastest-selling electronic gadget in history—in the 22 seconds it took to type this sentence, 1,000 smartphones were shipped to their new owners. Even if one of those 1,000 users became more likely to make a careless mistake, ignore a friend in the middle of a conversation or space out during a meeting, smartphones could be harming the productivity, relationships and well-being of millions.
As with all disorders, symptoms of ADHD form a continuum, from the normal to the pathological. Our findings suggest that our incessant digital stimulation is contributing to an increasingly problematic deficit of attention in modern society.
So consider silencing your phone, even when you are not in the movie theater. Your brain will thank you.