With people becoming increasingly dependent on their smartphones and tablets, doctors fear a rise in cases of gadget addiction. Psychiatrists said that gadget addiction can lead to Internet, porn and gaming addiction, which is commonly seen in adolescents and young adults. This can even lead to depression.

Last month, Dr Harish Shetty, psychiatrist, Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, treated about 10 residents from the city for gadget addiction. “Patients may require counselling but some may also need hospitalisation and medications in order to de-addict them,” said Dr Shetty, adding that the situation will only worsen if people do not follow what he called ‘gadget hygiene’.

According to Mobile Internet Vision Report 2015, as of June this year, Internet users in India stood at over 350 million. In fact, a study conducted in 2013 by psychiatrist Dr Deepak Goel found that three-fourth (74%) of the 987 adolescents were found to be moderately addicted to the Internet.

“During the study, we found that people with Internet addiction had developed anxiety, depression, and anxiety-related depression. Most of them were found surfing the Internet obsessively on the computers,” said Dr Goel, who runs a clinic in Worli and regularly treats patients with gadget addiction. He added that since Internet has become easy accessible owing to smartphones, the number of adolescents and young adults with Internet addiction is expected to rise. He is now studying how the youngsters are becoming increasingly addicted to social networking sites.

Recently, Bengaluru-based National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences
(NIMHANS) launched a tech de-addiction clinic.

“If we forget our gadgets even for a day, we tend to become uneasy as we are so habituated to them,” said Dr Maya Kirpalani, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road, adding that gadget addiction especially is affecting marriages as the personal touch is getting lost. “Getting too absorbed in gadgets is raising many concerns so there needs to be a balance,” she said.

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