Technology and the Developing Nervous System

On this episode of HealthMade Radio with Dr. Michael Karlfeldt, Discover the truth about the impact of technology on the developing nervous system with Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. 

How would you classify Electronic Screen Syndrome?

It is a condition that affects the nervous system it keeps it overstimulated by too much screen time.

The brain interprets electronic stimulation as a form of stress and moves children into fight or flight. Screen-related effects can present in many shapes and forms. Although varied, many of the effects can be grouped into symptoms related to mood, cognition, and behavior. The root of these symptoms appears to be linked to repeated stress on the nervous system, making self-regulation and stress management less efficient. 

What does the syndrome look like?

The child exhibits symptoms related to mood, anxiety, cognition, behavior, or social interactions that cause significant impairment in school, at home, or with peers. Typical signs/symptoms mimic chronic stress and include irritable, depressed or labile mood, excessive tantrums, low frustration tolerance, poor self-regulation, disorganized behavior, oppositional – defiant behaviors, poor sportsmanship, social immaturity, poor eye contact, insomnia/non-restorative sleep, learning difficulties, and poor short-term memory.  

How Does Screen time Impact the Brain?

Blue Light – disrupts sleep

Excessive screen time disrupts the sleep. What happens it not only keeps the person awake, it di-synchronizes the body clock, represses melatonin and causes your brain to be more inflamed. 

Reward System creates excessive dopamine.

The body produces dopamine and then craves more stimulation. This constant ‘revved up’ of the body over a period of time wears it down.

Disruption of Physicology Signaling for Metabolic Systems

Blood sugar, hormones, and cholesterol all are affected by stress and the excess cortisol produced. 

The good news is that the damage can be reversed! Listen to learn how to Reverse the Damage and Reset

For more on overstimulation and how an electronic fast can dramatically improve how a child feels and functions, check out Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four-Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades, and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen-Time or visit this website.   

Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D., is an integrative child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with twelve years’ clinical experience in both the public and private sectors. An active blogger for Psychology Today and speaker to both parents’ groups and clinicians, she emphasizes the impact of lifestyle factors on mental health, particularly the effects of overstimulating electronic screen media on mood, cognition, and behavior. Dr. Dunckley has been interviewed on various television and radio programs regarding her integrative approach and has contributed as a mental health expert for the Today Show and NBC News. In 2011, Dr. Dunckley was named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists by the Consumer Research Council and won several patient care awards, including Vitals.com’s Patient’s Choice and Compassionate Doctor awards.

Boarded by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine, she consults frequently with schools, interdisciplinary treatment teams, and the courts, and specializes in working with children and families who have failed previous treatments. By working closely over extended time periods with difficult cases, she uncovers issues that have previously been missed and uses an approach that integrates traditional psychopharmacology with complementary strategies.

She is also the author of “Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen Time.”

Chapter 1 


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