12/31/2014 12:57 EST | Updated 03/01/2015 05:59 EST

Digital Addiction Becoming More Prevalent

There's a reason some call their smartphones 'CrackBerry.'

The Richmond Addiction Services, in B.C., has been helping young people overcome their digital addictions since 2007 and says it deals with roughly 20 to 30 new families every year that need help with digital addictions. 

Benjamin Wong, a counsellor at Richmond Addiction Services, said he works with individuals between the ages of 12 to 25 and their families to support them in dealing with digital addictions — when they just can't separate themselves from a screen, be it a smartphone, computer or gaming device.

"When behaviour affects school attendance, when behaviour affects relationships, when their behaviour affects their ability to hold on to employment, sleep hygiene, nutrition ... those are things we look at," Wong said. 

Wong said it takes six months to one year to break an addiction and for addicted individuals to learn to cope with their emotions.

"We're trying to break a habit. It takes time to form new habits, new neurological systems to break some of the things that they had been so conditioned to be around."

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