According to addiction expert Dr Anna Lembke, our smartphones are making us dopamine junkies, with each swipe, like and tweet feeding our habit.
Her new book, Dopamine Nation, emphasises that we are now all addicts to a degree. She calls the smartphone the “modern-day hypodermic needle”: we turn to it for quick hits, seeking attention, validation and distraction with each swipe, like and tweet. Since the turn of the millennium, behavioural (as opposed to substance) addictions have soared. Every spare second is an opportunity to be stimulated, whether by entering the TikTok vortex, scrolling Instagram, swiping through Tinder or bingeing on porn, online gambling and e-shopping.
“We’re seeing a huge explosion in the numbers of people struggling with minor addictions,” says Lembke.
So how do we beat our digital dependency, asks Jamie Waters: