Dr. Bonnie on Technology and Texting Causing Mental Illness, Narcissism, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Dr. Bonnie says that technology is causing mental illness and exacerbating obsessive-compulsive disorder. A study mentioned in the New York Times finds that 70 percent of people who use their mobile phones frequently report "phantom vibration syndrome" where they think their phone is sending them an alert when it isn't (http://nyti.ms/LkeHJN). Technologies like texting, email checking, and social network updating while on the go are ubiquitous now and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says she's not surprised it's leading to what the psychologist referenced in the New York Times article calls "iDisorders." It's easy to see why the notion of "shopping till you drop" is negative, and now "texting till you drop" is thought to cause narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Dr. Bonnie says that technology is causing mental illness and exacerbating obsessive-compulsive disorder. A study mentioned in the New York Times finds that 70 percent of people who use their mobile phones frequently report "phantom vibration syndrome" where they think their phone is sending them an alert when it isn't (http://nyti.ms/LkeHJN). Technologies like texting, email checking, and social network updating while on the go are ubiquitous now and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says she's not surprised it's leading to what the psychologist referenced in the New York Times article calls "iDisorders." It's easy to see why the notion of "shopping till you drop" is negative, and now "texting till you drop" is thought to cause narcissism and obsessive-compulsive disorder

"The ability to have information at our fingertips, and to share information about ourselves via sites like Facebook and Twitter, can easily play into problems many people already struggled with prior to the technology revolution," explains Dr. Bonnie. For example: people who were prone to insomnia now face another barrier to sleep as they feel the need to check their phone or are awakened by the buzzing of text or other messages. Those prone to narcissism will find more readily available channels for self-indulgence. People who are easily depressed or who struggle with obsessive compulsive disorder will experience higher highs and lower lows thanks to that device in their pocket. Families struggling to spend time together now have another hurdle as dinners and gatherings can be spent with fingers glued to the phone. The possibilities are nearly endless says Dr. Bonnie.

America's obsession with technology can easily become a relationship wrecker or a romance wrecker as it takes up more space in everyone's lives and replaces face-to-face interaction. These gadgets may be making us mentally ill, and the New York Times piece draws a connection between the obsessive email or text checking, and smoking. "It's like having a relationship in your pocket that you constantly want to check in on," says Dr. Bonnie, "but at the detriment of other personal relationships." She points out the worlds people create within their mobile devices is really just a phantom relationship.

Additionally, it's unclear what kind of impact these behaviors will have long-term on the children who are growing up with texting, sexting, and constant Facebook-ing. "If they're not used to in-person interactions, what types of adults will they become," wonders Dr. Bonnie. "Will they feel they have more license to be self-centered?"
It's not uncommon to see couples or families at dinner spending time on their Blackberries or iPhones instead of interFACING with eachother. In response to the over-use of technology that can plague a family or relationship, Dr. Bonnie has a few suggestions:

  • Eat together - no phones allowed! It can be difficult enough to find time amongst busy schedules to carve out a meal, the last thing people need is the distraction of their phones! Instead, Dr. Bonnie suggests using this time to practice her Smart Heart Skills and Dialogue which she discusses further in Make Up Don't Break Up: "Create a space for safe communication where each person can be honest about what they're going through in their own life, and how they feel about the family or relationship." But don't get frustrated if it takes a while to draw people out, she advises. "Continue to make the time available and as your kids or significant other feels more comfortable they will be able to rely on that time as a space to share their feelings."
  • Get outside! These types of opportunities often bring out our inner child so go with it, get playful and see where it leads. People may learn something new about their family or partner, discover something new they can do together, and if nothing else, have a good time goofing around together.
  • Give yourself permission to say no. Whether this means saying "no" to being tethered to a mobile device for work, or saying "no" to checking email between certain hours. It IS ok to say no and just hang out with family or even alone. But Dr. Bonnie advises people to make sure they have a plan in mind – even if it's just to sit on the couch together and talk – so they feel like they truly experienced downtime.

To see Dr. Bonnie talk about getting out of the doldrums, click here: http://youtu.be/yanAAybsoq4

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Text ADULTERY to 82257 to find out from Dr Bonnie if adultery or affairs may be looming in your relationship!

Interested in a few dating tips from internationally acclaimed relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil? Text DATINGTIPS to 82257 to receive Tips and Updates from Dr. Bonnie!

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil's best-selling book, Adultery the Forgivable Sin is being re-released under a new distributor and making its appearance available in eBook format and print on Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Adultery-Forgivable-Bonnie-Eaker-Weil/dp/1587768151/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321019076&sr=8-1). Adultery the Forgivable Sin was also made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring Kate Jackson.

Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil, PhD, is also author of the 2010 New York Times Reader’s Choice Award-winning book Make Up Don’t Break Up with accompanying DVD. Dr. Bonnie is a marriage counselor treating couples, singles, and step families. She works with those considering breaking up, people who have committed adultery, and couples who want to strengthen their relationships damaged by resentment or unresolved anger, teaching people to “fight” to increase passion, bring back magic and restore the sizzle.

As a marriage and family therapist, Dr. Bonnie teaches Smart Heart Dialogue along with intimacy, communication, and connection tools, and counsels families and children.

Named the Best Local New York Therapist by the US Commerce Association two years in a row (2011 and 2012) and known as “The Adultery Buster” and the “No. 1 Love Expert,” she is the best-selling author of other books like Can We Cure and Forgive Adultery?, How Not to (S)mother Your Man and Keep a Woman Happy, and Financial Infidelity: Making Money Sexy.

Dr. Bonnie was named by NY Magazine as one of America's Best Therapists and is presently featured and available now on the Discovery Health/Oprah Winfrey Network documentary titled "Unfaithful" (http://bit.ly/GSP0KB) and A&E on addictions. The San Francisco Chronicle, which interviews Dr. Bonnie regularly, voted her one of their love experts.

Also find her on Good Morning America, on the Today Show's three-day series on infidelity, The Oprah Winfrey Show five times, and a four day series on Fox TV regarding dating. She appears frequently on ABC, Fox, CBS and NBC News, The View, 20/20, and CNN; and is often featured in USA Today and the New York Times. Visit Dr. Bonnie at http://www.DoctorBonnie.com.

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