21-year-old lady identified as Michelle Gore, from Bracknell, Berkshire, United Kingdom, who became so obsessed with technology that she took 200 selfies a day and used her phone in the shower, has warned others of the dangers after developing a rare medical condition.
It was learnt that she spends up to 23 hours online every day and was thrilled to receive some latest gadgets at Christmas of 2014. However after spending hours hunching over a selection of devices including a tablet, phone and laptop, she was diagnosed with Tietze disease in January last year.
Michelle, who graduated from the University of Bath in July 2015, said; "I would end up spending the entire holidays glued to a screen of some sort – whether it was watching a YouTube tutorial to work out how to use my new phone, or trawling an internet forum for tips."
"I was never without my phone or some other device because I couldn’t bear to miss out on updates from apps like Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp. I’d be taking selfies all day as many as 200 just to get the perfect shot that I could post online.
And before I went to bed I’d play games on my PlayStation or Xbox or watch Netflix, but just so I didn’t miss out, I’d leave my phone on all night in case a message came through.
I even specially requested a waterproof phone for Christmas last year, just so I could stay online in the shower."
Her Doctor said her addiction had put a strain on her rib cartilage, causing the inflammatory disorder which is characterised by chest pain and swelling between the upper ribs.
"Sometimes I was getting just one hour of sleep a night and that meant I struggled to focus during the day. I’d take my phone to lectures with me and found it hard to concentrate. As a result, my grades suffered and while I got a degree, I didn’t get the result I wanted.
I don’t know how long I can keep this up. I got the shakes I am sweating and unstable... and I am bored out my mind. I look in the mirror and I am a mess...My hair is a tangled mess... the colour from my face is gone... my once so lively eyes never looked so lifeless.... it’s like staring at a zombie version of myself."
Now she is warning others about the dangers of getting too hooked on technology and has made a hard-hitting video highlighting the perils with the charity Fixers. Recovered Michelle who is also a graphic designer, said; "
I realised I had a problem when I woke up on Boxing Day 2014 tangled up in cables from different gadgets. I had the laptop wire round my leg, my headphones around my neck, my mobile under my pillow, my tablet charging on my bedside table and my Xbox and PlayStation controls at the foot of the bed. I thought, "this isn’t normal".
And when Michelle began experiencing shooting pains in her back and chest, she knew something was seriously wrong. She said: "I was in pain every day and I was worried there was something up with my heart so I went to see my GP in January last year."
I was at breaking point so I confessed how long I’d been spending on my gadgets. She said I’d strained my costal cartilage from being in the same position for so long staring at my phone or hunching over my laptop. It came as a real shock but luckily it was the wake-up call I needed to sort myself out."
Dr Richard Graham, Consultant Adolescent Psychiatrist and Technology Addiction Lead at the Nightingale Clinic, UK, said the addiction is complex to treat.
"Unlike with alcohol or drugs, a patient cannot simply decide never to use a technology again. Instead, they must learn to establish a healthy relationship with technology and that is the crux of the treatment; sleep and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy are peripheral treatments that treat conditions that can sometimes coexist with technology addiction.
He added: "We need technology in our lives and it brings a host of benefits. It can however, drain us of our time as we spend more and more time online. This can become a compulsion to constantly be plugged in so that we don’t ever risk feeling that we are missing out, or stepping off a ladder. The by-product of this is that we are seeing an increasing number of young people addicted to technology."