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Cellphone use among growing addictions

People use their cellphones to fulfill many needs. From playing games for entertainment to taking photographs to texting friends; today's smart phones are more like mini computers than phones. Most New Jersey residents have witnessed others or may even be guilty themselves of engaging in excessive cellphone use. Regardless of time, place or circumstances; it seems as though some people can’t bear to put down their cellphones. There may be a good reason for this obsession.

The results of a recent study conducted by university researchers and commissioned by AT&T indicate that, at least for some people, cellphone use may be an addiction. When explaining cellphone addiction, researchers point to the brain chemical dopamine which is readily associated with feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

When an individual engages with his or her cellphone, the brain releases dopamine which, researchers reason, induces pleasurable feelings that result in the individual feeling "high". To help illustrate this point, 90 percent of study participants agreed that texting while driving is dangerous. Yet, when questioned about their own cellphone behaviors, 75 percent of study participants admitted to engaging in this dangerous driving behavior.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, during 2012 alone, more than 3,300 people died in traffic accidents that were attributed to distracted driving. Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous and distracting activities in which a driver can engage. For drivers who reason it only takes a couple seconds to read a text message, the same can be said about being involved in a serious or fatal car accident. 

Drivers who admit to having trouble resisting the urge to text while driving would be wise to either turn a cellphone off and store it or use one of the many mobile applications designed to alert senders of incoming texts that an individual is driving and cannot be reached.

Source: Cars.com, "Texting-While-Driving Study Likens Phone Use to Drug Addiction," Matt Schmitz, Nov. 6, 2014

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