Jan Gerber Talks About Addiction With TikTok On 5 Live Radio

The CEO and Founder of Paracelsus Recovery likens TikTok to Heroine.


Rick edwards: Today’s in-my-opinion comes from Jan gerber, CEO and founder of the paracelsus recovery mental health and addiction clinic.

Morning Jan, what what what are your thoughts on tiktok then?

Jan Gerber:
Good morning, umm.. Well in a nutshell umm I like to compare uh tiktok with uh heroin. Because its uhh, It has a very similar impact on the brain’s hemisphere. In a way, I see tiktok as the [inaudible] version of social media really.

Rick edwards: That sounds pretty extreme.

Jan Gerber: It is, but it has an extreme impact on probably most of us. Either parents or kids, or if you are younger, from your peer group wouldn’t possibly even yourselves know people or know yourselves using tiktok. You gotta compare to other social media, and really see people having a hard time putting their phone down.

So it has a severe impact on individual uh happiness, on individual.. Uh basically just everyday life from productivity and on a macro scale on productivity of the whole society.

Rick edwards: So so..

Jan Gerber: You have no idea how many hours I’ve spent on tiktok everyday.

 

Rick edwards: So so how do you identify an addiction to a social media uh platform. what .. What are the symptoms ? What are the signs?

Jan Gerber: And Some of the warning signs for people observing others … than others is really somebody spending most or a lot of their time on the phone, scrolling uhh through the different uh video streams.
Picking up the phone at any uh moment where its possible.

Sometimes even though while driving, often of course umm when waiting in line somewhere, so the warning signs are really when somebody has their phone at hand all the time, scrolling through the streams.

Rick edwards: That doesn’t apply to an awful lot of people though, who wouldn't categorise themselves as being addicted to these platforms.

Jan Gerber: It does and uh and that's where you know it’s difficult to say, where is it an addiction starts. Where normal use ends and addiction starts. I always like to say “something is a problem when it becomes a problem”, when it really impacts people’s social lives, their happiness and uh and often you can identify really an addictive behaviour when you try to withdraw, when you try to put the the phone down for a few hours or a whole day and its a similar type of craving, that’s there for… that we probably all know, for sugar or coffee uh or drugs for that matter. Thinking about picking up the phone when its just lying there. Picking it up first time in th morning, when you wake up at night umm umm instead of just immediately trying to go back to sleep, just pick of the phone and having a quick check if there’s is anything interesting happening on tiktok. That’s really the signs of the addiction.

Rick edwards: So, at your clinic, did you say that.. lots of people coming in with addictions to their phones and to social media ?

Jan Gerber: We uh, the last few years, we’ve just seen more and more social media use and [inaudible] use as a cross addiction.

So people will come in with either an eating disorder or a gambling addiction or actually an addiction to either alcohol or drugs or medication, and we would see that, umm that also a dependency on their phones and social media use, and then the last really couple of years this has become significantly more extreme and really tik tok has evolved as the main issue, particularly with the younger clientele..

We are speaking of 15-25, that's really where where tik tok is really the main issue.

Rick edwards: So, do you recommend just not using social media at all then?

Jan Gerber: Absolutely not, I mean it.. Like in an ideal world we wont have smart phones probably but that’s not realistic, uhmm so its about developing healthy habits,uhm develop the healthy boundaries and trying to enforce and stick to those boundaries uhh around mobile phone use in general and social media use and tiktok use in particular. And just be mindful of uh of our own behaviour and be honest to ourselves and really try to to to, you know, put certain boundaries in place

Umm yeah , it can start with an hour a day that is phone free, and we just try to stick to that for some time so we can kinda learn new habits.

Rick edwards: That’s really interesting. Good to speak to you this morning and thanks for your time.

Jan Gerber: Absolutely!

Rick edwards: That’s Jan Gerber, CEO and Founder of the Paracelsus recovery, uhm mental health and addiction clinic

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