The Deadly Teen Choking Game: Logan and Diane

Time to Unplug?

Today, our guests have written in using the word "addictions". Often people use the term "addiction" when they feel they just can't live without something like a food, their money, or their coffee. But, an addiction is actually when you are physically dependent on a substance. What our guests are actually experiencing are "impulsive disorders", and the term addictions today is more of their feeling about their need, as it has become psychologically addicting to work, eat, or spend money.


"My son, Logan, is addicted to his cell phone and his computer," says Diane. "Text messaging absorbs his entire brain. Logan will stay on the Internet for 12 hours."


Her son's excessive cell phone use is getting costly. "He ran up a $350 bill, then he had a phone bill that was $700," she reports. "The first time Logan ran up a bill that was outrageous, I simply took the phone for a couple of months. When school began again, I let him have the phone back. I realized that he was just totally out of control."


Logan admits that the habit has gotten out of hand. "I send at least 200 text messages," he says. "When I'm instant messaging, I can be talking to nine people at a time."


Diane has gone to extreme measures to keep her son off the phone. She hides his cell phone in different places like her drawer, pillowcase, or her shoes. She even removed his SIM card and put it in her underwear drawer.


[AD]Diane blames Logan's lack of focus on his addiction to his gadgets. Turning to Dr. Phil for help, she says, "Logan had a very difficult eighth grade year. He didn't pass eighth grade. My son is wasting his life away, always on the cell phone and the computer. Can you help me disconnect him?"

Turning to Diane, Dr. Phil asks, "When you say he is addicted, do you mean that in the literal sense of the word?"

"Yes, I do," she replies. "It's something he's driven to use and, unfortunately, abuse. The computer, Internet, instant messaging " things that seem to me ways of not dealing with life."


Addressing Logan in the audience, Dr. Phil questions, "Who are you talking to?" 

"People from school or people I meet at camp," he replies, admitting to Dr. Phil that he has a problem.


"So you agree that this is something you can't control. It's cost you a year of your life. You've got to do the eighth grade again," Dr. Phil observes. To Diane, he says, "What do you think if he took all the time, energy and hours that he spent on the computer and spent even half of that in studying?"

[AD]"He would be spectacular," she insists. "Reading is not exciting, it doesn't have the stimulation of all the variables in video games ... It's still hard to get him to put his energy toward school."

Dr. Phil explains to Diane, "If your involvement with something is disrupting your life " if it's to the point that you can't stop it, you get really anxious if you are deprived of it, it interferes with your relationships, with school, with learning, growing ... You've got a process here that you're no longer in control of."


When Logan admits that he gets nervous or anxious when he can't use the cell or computer, Dr. Phil says, "That means that you‘ve not developed other ways to get that same feeling, to get that same stress reduction, to get that same anxiety reduction." Logan has stopped developing in other areas, such as academically and intellectually, and he needs to learn other tools to give him the same high that he gets from his gadgets.


[AD]"You're not crazy. There's nothing wrong with you in that sense, but you have developed a pattern here that is controlling you instead of you controlling it," he stresses to Logan. Diane needs to get her son professional help to help get his impulsive disorder under control. "We need to break the pattern and replace it with something else. If I arrange that for y'all, will you participate in it?"

Both Diane and Logan say yes.