I’ve put forward a physiological hypothesis to explain the psychological Opponent Process theory, which I call the Receptor Control Theory. In essence, our pleasure set point or baseline “happiness” is determined by the density and sensitivity of dopamine receptors in the brain (and elsewhere). In this view, obesity and addiction result from a process of “dopamine resistance”, whereby receptor down-regulation impairs satisfaction and drives cravings. Conversely, high receptor density and sensitivity promote satisfaction and dampen cravings.
Phone use can easily be a literal addiction. (That’s not a conclusion from the quote, just a statement of fact. You can become addicted to anything that causes dopamine release.) I used to think that wasn’t true. Then I tried to put my phone down for an entire day.
Then I set about separating using my phone as a tool—which I can do a lot without it being addictive—from my phone’s use of me as a tool.