Healthy Living: Signs of digital addiction

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Technology and digital devices have improved our lives in important ways, increasing our productivity at work, home, and school, scheduling appointments, and buying almost anything.

But for many people, these helpful tools can also have adverse effects, and overuse can exacerbate anxiety, depression, and other underlying health issues.

Andree Miceli, clinical director of behavioral health, Regence BlueShield, says anything positive can become negative if used too much.

"Start writing down how much time you are spending and that can put it in perspective," said Miceli. "Also ask ‘am I avoiding people and responsibilities because I’m spending too much time on digital devices?’ and ‘am I becoming more isolated?’ ‘am I withdrawn?’ ‘am I not sleeping as well?’ if it’s having a negative impact."

Some warning signs of digital addiction include a loss of interest in friends, work, school, or activities and feelings of depression, anxiety, stress, or irritability.

The goal is to find balance and be mindful, and if you have trouble sticking to your rules, ask a family member or friend to hold you accountable.

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