Community Psychiatry’s Dr. Magavi was featured in Lifewire discussing screen time and doom-scrolling.

 By: Sascha Brodsky | February 24, 2021

Americans say phones are the No. 1 necessity in their lives, but some mental health experts advise us to put the screens away.

According to new research from tech care company Asurion, phones are now more important to users than vehicles or refrigerators. The online poll of over 1,000 US adults reveals the need to stay connected during the pandemic. Some observers say it could be due to the dopamine released in our brains when we’re using our phones.

“Excessive screen time and doom-scrolling can adversely affect mood, sleep and overall mental wellness,” Dr. Leela R. Magavi, the regional medical director for Community Psychiatry, an outpatient mental health organization, said in an email interview.

“Incessantly reviewing and scrolling through anxiety-inducing stories about things such as COVID-19 could exacerbate feelings of despair and helplessness.”

All Phones, All the Time

Putting down our phones may be a tough challenge. The Asurion research found that at least half of Americans use their phones more during the pandemic for entertainment or to connect with the important people in their lives.

Additionally, three-quarters of Americans’ phones have irreplaceable information, including photos and videos (82%), their contact lists (60%), passwords or login credentials (52%), documents and essential notes (45%), and music (32%).

Magavi knows firsthand the allure of the glowing screen. “I call my sister and parents on a daily basis, so the phone symbolizes an avenue to connect with the individuals I love the most,” she said.

“Our phones are the first thing we look at in the morning, and the last thing we look at before falling asleep.”

“Since my sister is also a physician who works very long hours, I never want to miss her calls because that is our window of time to connect, destress, and process daily events.”

She’s had to set strict limits on her phone use. Magavi puts her ringer on silent except for her favorites list, since she evaluates patients throughout the day.

“Years ago, I would run around frantically if I could not find my phone, but now, I feel a sense of peace even when I am not by my phone for hours at a time,” she said.

“I believe everyone can achieve this peace with time and practice.”

Click here for the full article in Lifewire.

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