The use of WhatsApp is becoming more widespread and is causing damage to the mental health of some of its users, mainly the youngest. The excessive use of this app generates symptoms that alert to a possible addiction.
According to the coordinator of Organizational Psychology, of the Faculty of Psychology of the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Erika Villavicencio Allub, the excessive use of the application decreases the dopamine receptors in the brain.
Although the specialist said that this addiction is not found in the "Manual of Diagnostic and Statistical of Mental Disorders", there is recent research added to the symptoms detected that give indications that it could be a codependency to the information technologies and communication (TIC).
The pleasant sensation when reviewing WhatsApp messages reaches the brain and forces, in some way, to constantly check the app. It is even possible to get "hallucinated", that notifications are received when in reality they do not exist and even lie about the real time that WhatsApp has been used.
Some of the symptoms of addicts to WhatsApp are, according to the specialist: lack of personal care, forgetting the number of hours of sleep, carelessness in the diet, low work performance, among others.
If the dependency is even stronger anxiety attacks occur when you do not have access to the app or when the cell phone battery is about to run out. This leads to additional symptoms, due to the withdrawal syndrome when not using the app, such as: boredom, insomnia, irritability, anger, nervousness, anxiety, depression and / or fatigue.
The specialist also noted that an expert is the one who must diagnose addiction and determine if it should be treated with a cognitive-behavioral therapy or if it is necessary to also incorporate some type of drug.
He also stressed that the dependence on young people is stronger, causing in some cases traffic accidents by distraction when using the application, for example driving at the same time it is used or in the cases of pedestrians, by crossing the streets controlling the mobile.
Villavicencio Allub also discussed the importance of raising awareness about the use of ICTs, since they are part of our lives and we can not ignore them. However, it recommends a correct and non-abusive use of the same so that it does not interfere negatively in daily life.