Technology is such a big part of the modern-day world that it almost seems absurd to talk about being addicted to it. After all, most people now have smartphones, computers, video game consoles, and even smart watches to help them do more, achieve more, and even just have more fun. But for a small number of people, technology becomes more of an addiction than just another useful tool.

So where does smart use of technology stop? When tech tools begin to have a negative influence on mental health or the ability to function. For example, there’s probably nothing abnormal about a teen texting a friend a few times a day. But a teen who begins to cut school, refuses to eat, and stays up all night just to play video games is displaying serious red flags for addiction.

Tech, like most substances, can very easily become a crutch through which to avoid difficult experiences and emotions. Studies also show that it triggers the same reward centers in the brain, causing a “rush” of endorphins. Effective treatments usually include some form of temporary inpatient treatment to give the sufferer time to “detox” and break the connection. This is supported by extensive talk therapy.