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The Downside Of Dopamine: Phone Addiction Can Lead To Distracted Driving

Most people are well aware that texting and driving are not a safe combination. There are good reasons why California and other states put restrictions on cellphone use while driving.

But is it really true that cellphone use is addictive?

In this post, we will explore that question.

Triggering The Reward Centers In The Brain

The short answer is that yes, it can be.

Psychologists who study the issue say that sounds from an incoming text, social media update or email trigger the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a powerful chemical that engages the reward centers in the brain and is also associated with sexual pleasure, as well as enjoyment from eating and drinking.

And activity that is so closely associated with pleasure can become addictive.

The fact that connections that are mediated through a phone can have such a powerful effect is very revealing about humans as social beings. It also speaks volumes about the role of electronic devices in our society.

Many people do therefore experience a form of addiction to smartphones. Because of brain chemistry, the urge to respond to their phones may become incredibly strong. The pings can trigger the dopamine receptors in the brain, releasing the powerful chemical that makes the craving to respond to the message, or at least look at it, very hard to resist.

Holding Yourself and Others Accountable

Distracted drivers shouldn't be demonized. But if you suspect that you are addicted to responding to your phone, you may need to actually turn it offand store it somewhere inaccessible to you while you are driving. Even if an emergency arises, there is a good chance you won't be able to adequately respond to it until you are done driving anyway.

If you've been injured by a distracted driver, a good lawyer can help you understand your legal options and assert your right to seek compensation.

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