“Certainly cell phones are a life-changing part of our society. We'll never be the same. And there's no going back,” said Dr. Jay Joerger, licensed psychologist in Middletown.

Unfortunately, though, societal pressures are forcing children younger and younger into getting cell phones,” says Joerger.

Addiction to cell phone use is a behavioral disorder, meaning that it affects everyday life, like schoolwork, eating habits, and socializing.

How is it possible for cell phone use to become an addiction?

The brain reacts to ringing and text message alerts as if they were a drug by “lighting up the pleasure center of the brain” and causing the brain to release dopamine,” said Nelson Hadler, a psychologist in private practice, who has offices in Denville and Sparta, NJ.

In comparing the compulsive disorder to eating, Hadler said, “An overeater has to learn how to eat responsibly. The same is true with excessive phone use—the user has to learn to use the phone responsibly.”