Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise among adults, and researchers say smartphones could be partly to blame.
Doctors have been trying to determine whether a steady rise in ADHD in adulthood is simply due to better screening or due to environmental and behavioral factors.
TO study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association has linked that people who use their smartphones for two or more hours a day have a 10 percent increased risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
The disorder is primarily linked to young children, with the possibility that a child may outgrow it, but the distractions created by smartphones involving social media, texting, music streaming, and movies or television are creating an ADHD epidemic among adults.
ADHD is on the rise among adults and constant smartphone use could be to blame
Researchers theorize that social media bombards people with constant information, causing them to take frequent breaks from their tasks to check their phone.
People who spend their free time using technology don’t allow their brains to rest and focus on a single task, and the combined distractions can cause adults to develop shorter attention spans and become easily distracted.
“For a long time, the association between ADHD and heavy Internet use was a chicken-and-egg question in our field: Do people become heavy Internet users because they have ADHD and online life is a better fit for them? to their attention span, or do they develop ADHD? As a result of excessive online consumption? Elias Aboujaoude, a behavioral psychiatrist at Stanford University, said Study finds.
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition that can cause people to have a limited attention span, hyperactivity, or impulsivity that can affect their daily lives, including relationships and work, causing them to be less productive.
Researchers say more adults may be “converting” to ADHD because of the constant distraction that smartphones represent, adding that people who constantly use their devices don’t allow their brains to rest in the default mode.
“It is legitimate to consider the possibility of an acquired attention deficit,” said John Ratey, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. National Geographic.
He said that in today’s society people are constantly pushed to multitask, and the ubiquitous use of technology can cause addiction to screens, potentially leading to a shorter attention span.
Historically, ADHD has been defined as a genetic disorder that can be controlled through medication and therapy.
But researchers have now found that lifestyle changes later in life, such as becoming overly dependent on the smartphone, can make ADHD an acquired disorder.
If a person is constantly on their phone checking social media, they may feel the need during work hours to take frequent breaks to see if anyone commented on or liked their post.
The practice can almost become subconscious, causing the person to become distracted during work or feel an inability to concentrate, which can develop into ADHD.
The number of adults diagnosed with ADHD worldwide increased from 4.4 percent in 2003 to 6.3 percent in 2020.
An estimated 8.7 million adults in the U.S. have ADHD, while approximately six million children ages 3 to 17 are diagnosed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION).
ADHD can affect your ability to focus in relationships or at work
“That’s equivalent to about 366 million adults worldwide currently living with ADHD, which is roughly the population of the United States,” Russell Ramsay, co-founder of the Penn Adult ADHD Research and Treatment Program, told National. Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Geographical.
According to the study, evidence suggests that technology affects brain function and behavior, leading to an increase in ADHD symptoms, including impaired emotional and social intelligence, technology addiction, social isolation, impairment of brain development and sleep disturbance.
The researchers analyzed several studies dating back to 2014 that looked at the correlation between ADHD and media use.
They reported that the studies found that adolescents who did not have ADHD symptoms at baseline showed that there was a “significant association between more frequent digital media use and ADHD symptoms after 24 months of follow-up.”
A separate study conducted in 2018 focused on whether smartphones contributed to adolescents developing ADHD symptoms over two years.
That study found that 4.6 percent of 2,500 high school students who said they did not use digital media frequently developed ADHD symptoms by the end of the study.
Meanwhile, 9.5 percent of teens who reported using social media frequently at the beginning of the study showed symptoms of ADHD when the study concluded.
Adults who want to get rid of the unwanted side effects that come with excessive use of their smartphones should take steps to develop a healthy relationship with their technology, including spending less time on their phone, setting phone time limits, and taking time off. a time to rest away from technology.