It’s not breaking news that technology can be addictive; there are multiple rehabilitation clinics solely designed to treat tech and gaming addicts and doctors are aware of the dangers included with prolonged technology over-usage. So far, internet addiction hasn’t been added to the official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (the fields most reliable resource for diagnosing mental health problems); however, as the years go by and everyday technology use skyrockets, more and more cases are surfacing and the evidence is growing. Almost anyone with a smartphone these days can admit using the device quite a bit more than they would like to – and that’s just barely scratching the surface of this upcoming epidemic.
The first case of addiction to wearable technology has surfaced – and it’s not some high-school kid making outrageous claims. The Guardian reports that the victim is actually a 31-year old U.S. Navy serviceman, who was checked into the military’s Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program (SARP) after displaying symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. As the doctors began treating him, they realized something was amiss – he was actually displaying signs of being addicted to and withdrawing from the wearable Google Glass more than he was withdrawing from alcohol.
The man was wearing the glasses for over 18 hours a day, and only removed them to shower and sleep. After an undisclosed many months of daily usage, the man became inseparable from the device, using it for not only work but his personal life as well. After some time, the man became irritable and depressed whenever he didn’t have the glasses on, and found it hard to live with the glasses off. The technology had integrated with his vision and natural functioning; life without the glasses was duller and less “realistic,” similar to how lost and disconnected people can becoming after being separated from their smart-phones or tablets that they live on daily.
Google Glass is just the beginning, and other tech companies are following in their style; Apple just released their wearable Apple Watch, which brings the iPhone out of users’ pockets and onto their wrists, keeping the data and updates freshly viewable at all times. Will this constant state of visible technology overlaying out “reality” usher in a new generation of addicts who can’t live without wearing their tech at all times?
For the most part, wearable tech is dominating the field of invention right now. Unfortunately, the only way to stop this kind of addiction is to limit the time spent wearing the tech – and with the military frequently using these kinds of devices to separate soldiers from the field to protect them from the dangers of war, the more addicts we’ll see come out. Lets hope the public doesn’t fall to the same destructive patterns, but as long as this kind of tech is available, more people will fall to its hyper-real addictive nature.