LIFESTYLE

Woman Who Snapped 200 Selfies A Day Says Tech Addiction Caused Rare Inflammatory Disease

06/01/2016 15:29 GMT | Updated 06/01/2016 17:59 GMT

A self-confessed tech addict has told of how hours of hunching over devices caused her to suffer chest pain and develop a rare illness.

Michelle Gore, 21, said she would take roughly 200 selfies per day at the height of her addiction. She also purchased a waterproof case so she could use her phone in the shower.

But the the years of sitting hunched over computers, tablets and smartphones came to a head last January when Gore was diagnosed with Tietze disease - a rare, inflammatory disorder characterised by chest pain and swelling of the cartilage of one or more of the upper ribs.

The graphic designer, who is from Bedfordshire, has since recovered from her addiction and is urging others to be mindful of their screen time - for the sake of their health.

michelle gore

Michelle Gore

Gore explained that she knew she had a "problem" when she woke up on Boxing Day 2014 tangled in cables from different gadgets.

"I had the laptop wire round my leg, my headphones around my neck, my mobile under my pillow, my tablet charging on my bedside table and my Xbox and PlayStation controls at the foot of the bed," she explained.

"I thought, 'this isn’t normal'."

Shortly after, she began to experience shooting pains in her back and chest on a daily basis.

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After Gore went to see her GP and revealed the amount of time she had spent on her gadgets every day, Gore's doctor said she strained her costal cartilage from sitting in the same position for such a long time.

"It came as a real shock but luckily it was the wake-up call I needed to sort myself out," said Gore.

She then attempted to banish her devices completely, which she said was her "worst nightmare".

"Since I spent most of my time online, it suddenly felt like life had stopped. I was never without my phone or some other device because I couldn’t bear to miss out on updates from apps like Snapchat, Instagram or WhatsApp," she said.

It was then that she sought help from her family. Michelle’s mum Nokutula, 39, and her dad Erwin, 48, agreed set times when technology would be banned from the family home.

The approach has appeared to pay off, as Gore is now on the road to recovery and is working alongside charity Fixers to raise awareness of the health implications associated with tech addiction.

Offering advice to those who think they might be addicted to their devices, Dr Richard Graham, a psychiatrist and technology addiction expert, said that addiction is complex to treat. However it can be done.

"Unlike with alcohol or drugs, a patient cannot simply decide never to use a technology again," he explained.

"Instead, they must learn to establish a healthy relationship with technology and that is the crux of the treatment."

He said Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can be used to treat conditions that sometimes coexist with technology addiction.

He concluded: "We need technology in our lives and it brings a host of benefits. It can, however, drain us of our time as we spend more and more time online.

"This can become a compulsion to constantly be plugged in so that we don’t ever risk feeling that we are missing out, or stepping off a ladder. The by-product of this is that we are seeing an increasing number of young people addicted to technology."

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