Device addiction is a thing
Commercial interests have used brain science associated with addiction to develop apps and devices that tap the same short-term reward system of the brain like a drug. In this way, the underlying biochemical dynamic with addiction is a pathological relationship with intoxication so that the only time you feel okay is when you are getting a short term ‘feel good’ hit from the drug, activity or device, which does not satisfy; it leaves you wanting more. Then your brain takes over and drives your behavior to make the source of that short term hit seem more important than primary relationships, including family, friends, school and career, associated with wellness.
The antidote to addiction is a healthy relationship with self and others. This involves human bonding through connection (being present without judgment or condemnation) and the secretion of a love hormone called oxytocin. This bonding creates a sense of security and wellbeing in yourself and in relationship with others. Recovery happens when the person experiencing addiction goes through a treatment program and makes the decision to pursue healthy relationships in community. For recovery, the decision cannot be manipulated from external sources – it must come from within the person.
Recently Frances Holmes, CNC, IGP, FNLP, spoke at the Sacramento Chapter, Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment, about the value of nutrition to address the underlying cravings associated with addiction. Many families are dealing with attention issues and device addiction as youth today rely upon the device to be present in their peer communities. This is to offer insights about addiction as a biochemical reaction to life experiences, and offer some nutrition tips to help youth build resilience.
Sugar balance/imbalance and addiction cravings
In order to have a healthy perspective on life events, our wellness goal is to be stable and avoid extreme mood swings. According to Holmes, sugar is one of those elements in food that can create a sense of extreme high and low biochemical spikes and crashes which can inspire cravings for quick “fixes”. So for a person in recovery from addiction diet is a very important factor for maintaining sobriety. By the same token, children who are going through major mood swings because of experiences in their online world would also benefit from the nutrition tips to maintain sobriety. It is all about balancing the biochemistry.
Below are some insights I gleaned from Frances to help parents with nutrition tips for youth who are exposed to the addictive tendencies of mobile devices. My comments are in italics.
Response to life stress of losses
Holmes explains that there are a number of ways in which we experience loss in life. They include:
- Tangible losses like personal possessions, money, pets, jobs, etc.
- Developmental losses such as fertility, mobility, skin tone, vision, hearing, hair, siblings and relatives
- Loss of self, through physical illness, divorce, retirement, substance abuse, mental illness, abortion, etc.
- Abstract losses, such as loss of dreams, faith/trust and hope, childhood, innocence, humor, independence, civil liberties, etc.
- Loss of others like spouse/partner, parents/friends, redefinition, separation, divorce, geographic move, drug use, abortion, deportation, overdose, politics
I have observed that social media and the advent of mobile connectivity in the lives of youth and families has inspired a sense of separation in the parent-child bond that can make it seem impossible for find secure connection in the presence of one another. This is a deep sense of loss which can inspire great instability as youth experience adult issues with great intensity in their online world. These issues include: anxiety and depression
So if you and/or your child are experiencing a disconnect in that it seems like there is a great unsurmountable distance leaving you with only fearful thoughts about what is going on in their world (and honestly why are they acting that way???), then consider one of the things you can do is work on some nutrition enhancements to introduce a little more stability in your biochemistry to help facilitate connection.
- First thing in the morning, start with a glass of water. Throughout the day drink water.
- Eat three meals a day and one or two snacks. Breakfast is important, to give fuel for the morning and increases metabolism and blood flow.
- Eat protein at each meal. Found in meat, eggs, cheese, nuts and beans. Protein is essential for concentration, focus and sustained energy.
- Increase the amounts of complex carbohydrates in your diet. (Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains).
- Watch fruit and fruit juice intake. They contain fructose which is a sugar, and can create an imbalance. Good fruit choices are apples, pears, kiwi, apricots grapefruit, berries. Eat small amounts of grapes, dates, and bananas.
- Reduce or eliminate most simple carbohydrates. Bread pasta made with white flour, white rice, white potatoes, sugar, corn syrup, honey and candy.
- Increase the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. Sources include wild cold water fish like salmon and halibut. Also walnuts, Brazil nuts, chia, sesame and pumpkin seeds.
Food shopping tips:
- Read the labels.
- Notice the serving size and how many services are in the package.
- Divide the sugar content by 4 to determine how many teaspoons of sugar are in each serving.
- Read the products carefully. Avoid products with hydrogenated, cottonseed, Margarine, Shortening, corn syrup, aspartame, NutraSweet, equal, Sweet’n’low, and anything you can’t pronounce or by from the grocery store.
To learn more about nutritional supplements to counter anxiety and mood disorders, contact Frances Holmes.
About Frances Holmes. Certified Nutrition Consultant trained in Holistic nutritional approaches to health. Skilled in conducting group nutrition and educational lectures and programs. Passionate about educating those in recovery on the importance of nutrition for sobriety. Skilled working with the bereaved to balance the somatic aspects of loss and grief.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.
Peace on earth begins with peace at home.
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Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and consultant on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a former technology executive trained in behavioral science at U.C. Berkeley, a mother of two grown sons, and an author of books for practical guidance on parenting, growing up and family life in the network culture. As a family and technology culture advisor, Joanna has appeared on 103.9FM The Fish, 710AM Keeping Faith in America, 1380AM The Answer, and Examiner.com.