By: Mike Moen, Public News Service
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Technology addiction was the focus when a host of experts gathered this month at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark, N.J., for the annual Urban Mental Health Conference. Panelists agreed that tech addiction is an emerging front in the treatment world, and a Minnesota provider agrees.
Psychiatrist Dr. Shalene Kennedy, who operates a behavioral treatment center in the Twin Cities area, said she primarily works with teens and families. About a decade ago, Kennedy said, her office started to see more patients exhibiting behaviors she feels are brought on by excessive or unhealthy tech use.
“As we would look for the underlying cause to some of those problems with families,” she said, “we’ve noticed that technology is playing a larger and larger role.”
The World Health Organization voted in May to include “gaming disorder” as a behavioral addiction, when people can’t curb their online gaming and neglect other parts of their lives as a result. However, any form of tech addiction still isn’t recognized as a disorder in the official psychiatric guidebook used by providers in the United States.
While there may be some in her field who are reluctant to include technology as a formal addiction officially, Kennedy said finding common ground can help those on the front line deal with an evolving problem.
“We need to band together so that we can all put our heads together on what the best treatment would be for these kids and families and be able to make it a reasonable diagnosis,” she said.
Some of the dissent in the medical community centers around whether too much technology use is a symptom of an underlying issue, not the cause of it. While medical experts debate the merits, Congress is taking a closer look. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., has proposed a bill that calls on social media companies to adopt practices that would help curb overuse of their platforms. The text of his bill is online at hawley.senate.gov.
The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.
To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at email@example.com
Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II