While smartphones and social media apps were ostensibly created to keep us connected, a new study reports those who spend the most time on their smartphones are actually the most lonely.
It had already been established that overuse of digital devices and social media can take their toll on their users, even leading to addiction, but the study, conducted at San Francisco State University, shows the severity of the danger.
Likening smartphone addiction to opioid dependency, Erik Peper, co-lead author of the study and professor of health education at the school, argues there's little difference.
"The behavioral addiction of smartphone use begins forming neurological connections in the brain in ways similar to how opioid addiction is experienced by people taking Oxycontin for pain relief -- gradually," Peper explains in a press release.
Apps like Facebook and the like drive your attention to clicks and "likes" rather than actually interacting with other people.
Peper and co-author Richard Harvey surveyed 135 smartphone-using students, and discovered that those who couldn't put their cellys down were often down themselves: they reported higher levels of depression and anxiety.