Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Denver Mental Health Counselor: Is Your Child a Screen Time Addict?

Today's Blog Post: This is Part One of Two.

Screen-Time Addiction.

Screen-Time (ST) includes TV, "educational" software, cell phone, computer/tablet, video-gaming, and any other forms of digital brain stimulation.

We now have a decade of ST evidence-based brain related research --  if your child has high ST  there is a strong chance their brain is addicted (it takes very little time for the addiction to occur).  In both biological and social development context, the effects of ST are devastating.  So devastating, in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-V), it will be listed as a mental health disorder. Is it?  

In my opinion, YES!  To best understand, it's helpful to look at ST like a drug, such as cocaine or heroin, and frame the discussion in a drug addiction model.  For example: 

⇾ MRI scans of drug addict brains' vs. ST brains' are nearly identical.  Translation -- both target the region of the brain; both act similarly, producing joy, happiness, and euphoria.  They both produce the same brain 'happy' chemicals -- Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Endorphins.  BTW...
✽ Nearly all kids I work with are ST addicts!  
The solution? Easy, take away the drug and/or ST, right?  Maybe, but not necessarily true.  If you take the drug(s) away from an addict, without proper medications, they may experience horrific withdrawal symptoms (it's called white knuckling). In some cases, especially with alcoholics, a quick shut off may cause death.  Also, odd-deviant-psychotic behavior may appear -- they will do anything to get their drug(s) back!  

Want to know what could happen if you take ST away from your child, read more at this link Screen Time Addiction Behavior

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