Smartphones are handheld mobile devices with an internet connection and the ability to run additional software (Email, social media, webbrowser..etc). The first smartphone was produced in 1992, but the term "smartphone" was designated in 1995 ever since the functions of a smartphone evolved to include more than communications. It now includes, but is not limited to, entertainment, social media, health monitoring, productivity, and utility functions such as day planners, and text and photo editing all in one handheld device. With this wide array of functionalities built into smartphones, researchers can now observe the increasing number of smartphone users. In 2017 Google announced that they had reached 2 billion active users, and in 2019 that the number had reached 2.5 billion25. Additionally, in 2019 Apple announced 900 million active users40. In 2019, Google and Apple collectively announced that there were 3.4 billion people using smartphones. These numbers do not consider the smartphone users who do not use Apple or Google products.
According to the American psychiatric association, addiction is "A complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences."4 Regardless of whether the addiction is substance or behavior related, there are five elements of addiction54. The first element is feeling different, which includes feeling relatively uncomfortable, lonely, restless, or incomplete30. The second element of addiction is the preoccupation with the behavior, excessive thoughts about and desire to perform a behavior, excessive time spent to plan and engage in the behavior, and possibly recover from its effects, and less time spent on other activities11 despite potentially diminishing appetitive effects48,49. Temporary Satiation is the third element of addiction, after acute engagement in an addictive behavior, some period of time may occur in which urges are not operative, addiction craving is "shut down", only to return soon21,44,41. The fourth element is Loss of Control, wherein many people who claim to be struggling with addiction experience feeling compelled to the addiction, a loss of control, and in some cases, neglecting essential self-care, which suggests a loss of will43. The final element is negative consequences which means continuing to engage in the addictive behavior after suffering numerous negative consequences. This last component of addiction has often been a criterion of dependence on the addictive behavior24.
"Smartphone addiction" could be considered as one form of technological addictions. Generally, similar to internet addiction, smartphone addiction consists of four main components: compulsive behaviors, tolerance, withdrawal, and functional impairment7. In a study completed among 2367 university students in Riyadh, results indicated that 27.2% of participants stated that they spent more than 8 hours per day using their smartphones3. In another study done on 688 Lebanese university students, 49% reported excessive smartphone use (≥5 hours/weekday) ,9
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a mental illness portrayed by hindering changes to the way a person thinks, acts, and feels. It causes feelings of sadness and bitterness and a loss of enthusiasm when partaking in activities the individual once enjoyed. MDD can present with a wide variety of symptoms, including lack of appetite, fatigue, trouble sleeping (e.g., Insomnia), feelings of guilt, and thoughts of suicide. Contingent upon the severity of MDD, it can be associated with a degree of cognitive dysfunction affecting the capacity to perform everyday home and work activities by prompting an assortment of physical and emotional issues4,42,12. MDD seems to have a close relationship with addiction and substance abuse. Two epidemiological studies in 1990 and 1994 have showcased evidence that mood disorders increase the risk of Substance Use Disorders (SUD) 47,33. One literature review examined the relationship between Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD) and MDD and found a correlation between the two, where AUD would double the risk of developing MDD and vice versa8. Mood disorders and SUD comorbidity lowers the prognosis and treatment outcome for each problem46. However, there is evidence to suggest that the successful treatment of a comorbid mood disorder would decrease craving and substance abuse13. Furthermore, the correlations are not exclusive to substance addiction and several studies have concluded that behavioral addictions (such as internet and smartphone addiction) can be associated with MDD 38,2.
Insomnia is defined as a subjective perception of difficulty falling or staying asleep; it can have acute episodes of one night or last chronically for up to several weeks or even months, it is associated with decreased mental and physical Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) scores50, and psychiatric illness28. Furthermore, though indirectly, it is associated with smartphone overuse14.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder with onset in childhood that may last into adulthood characterized by hyperactivity, impulsiveness, or inattentiveness, and often all three symptoms (DSM-IV-TR (APA, 2000) that interfere or affect the quality of social, academic or occupational performance or development5 A study in different countries in America, Europe, and the Middle East, showed average adult ADHD prevalence of 3.4% with a higher percentage of high economic countries (4.2%) compared to poor economic countries (1.9%)20. Adults with ADHD have a significantly high chance of suffering from depressive, antisocial personality, anxiety, and substance use disorders18.
Past studies have been done on the prevalence of smartphone addiction and its relationship to mental and physical issues, be that as it may, these investigations showcased a portion of the components identified with smartphone addiction. In contrast, numerous elements, such as ADHD or nicotine addiction, were left uninvestigated. The objective of this study is to discover the level of relationship between Smartphone addiction and different elements including, but not limited to, MDD, Nicotine Dependence, Quality of life, and Sleep to locate standard variables among postgraduates that will ideally prompt awareness and knowledge about smartphone addiction on society while surveying the level of its mental impacts.
The goal of this examination is to distinguish the prevalence of smartphone addiction among postgraduate students. Because of the expanded apparent pressures that these individuals experience45, we believe that Postgraduate students are an especially vulnerable populace to smartphone addiction. Postgraduate students will, in general, use smartphones to communicate, access data they need in school as well as entertainment. As far as we know, no present investigations are recognizing the prevalence of smartphone addiction among Arabian middle eastern postgraduate students. In this article, we will be investigating the prevalence of smartphone addiction among postgraduate students as well as assessing its relationship to social demographics, depression, ADHD, and nicotine dependence.