Is WhatsApp Bad For Those of us With BPD?

Is WhatsApp Bad For Those of us With BPD?

The other day I was reading an article from the National Library of Medicine website talking about Whatsapp addiction and the issues those of us with BPD seem to have using it. You can read the full article via this link, but I will summarise it in the text below –

Understanding WhatsApp Addiction and its Consequences: A Case Study

The widespread adoption of smartphones has revolutionized mobile communication, but the increasing use of these devices has unveiled negative consequences. One such consequence is smartphone addiction, which can have adverse effects on both social and health aspects of users’ lives. This article sheds light on the specific issue of WhatsApp addiction, highlighting its detrimental impact on individuals. Additionally, it explores the association between WhatsApp addiction and borderline personality disorder (BPD) and presents a case study to provide deeper insights into the challenges faced during treatment.

WhatsApp Addiction and its Effects

WhatsApp, a popular messaging application, has become integral to many individuals’ lives. Excessive use of WhatsApp can lead to a loss of interest in the real world and create a dependence on the app. Users may find their emotions restricted to the digital realm, resulting in diminished engagement with offline activities. Symptoms of WhatsApp addiction include a loss of control, interference in daily life, and a constant reliance on the application.

The Link between BPD and WhatsApp Addiction

Individuals with BPD may be more susceptible to developing WhatsApp addiction due to certain characteristics associated with the disorder. Feelings of emptiness, frequent boredom, and unstable self-image make individuals with BPD more inclined to use their mobile devices to stay connected with a larger number of people. Previous studies have found that individuals with problematic internet use, including WhatsApp addiction, often exhibit high levels of loneliness, affective disorders, low self-esteem, and impulsive behaviour.

Case Study

The article presents a case study involving a 27-year-old female patient with a history of suicidal attempts and a diagnosis of BPD. After receiving treatment for BPD, the patient’s excessive use of WhatsApp became apparent. Over time, her WhatsApp usage escalated, leading to disrupted sleep patterns, impaired functioning, and diminished interest in other activities. The patient experienced difficulties in reducing her WhatsApp use, resulting in irritability and conflicts within her marriage. Eventually, she was clinically diagnosed with both WhatsApp addiction and BPD.

Treatment Approach

The treatment approach for the patient involved prescribing fluoxetine and maintaining the use of mood stabilizers. Behavioural therapy was employed to address cravings, distractions, and engagement in alternative activities. However, specific psychotherapy methods took a lot of work to implement due to the challenges posed by the patient’s BPD. Despite these challenges, the patient showed gradual improvement, reducing her mobile phone usage and experiencing enhanced overall functioning.
Future Research and Treatment Considerations: While WhatsApp is widely used, research in the area of WhatsApp addiction is limited. The article emphasizes the need for further investigation into this phenomenon. It explores the associations between smartphone use motives, social relations, perceived social support, and psychological well-being. WhatsApp addiction is suggested to share similarities with other forms of addiction, leading to impaired functioning and interpersonal problems. Although the DSM-V does not explicitly mention internet addiction, conceptualizing it as a compulsive-impulsive spectrum disorder can be informative.

Treating WhatsApp addiction poses therapeutic challenges, particularly in individuals with comorbid BPD. Although evidence-based treatments for internet addiction are lacking, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and family therapy may offer valuable avenues for intervention. The article concludes by highlighting the importance of moderation and controlled internet usage as treatment goals.

This article delves into the negative consequences of smartphone overuse, focusing specifically on WhatsApp addiction. A comprehensive case study provides insights into the challenges encountered during the treatment of WhatsApp addiction in an individual with BPD. The article emphasizes the need for further research in this area and underscores the significance of addressing WhatsApp addiction as a behavioural addiction with far-reaching implications.

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