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When Texting Becomes an Addiction

We seem to be slaves to technology these days. We have our blackberries, our cell phones, our iPods.

It's gotten so bad that, for some people, it's an unhealthy obsession, reports CBS News Correspondent Michelle Miller.

Everywhere you look, there's a telephone, fingers are walking, thumbs are talking.

According to a recent study, 72 percent of cell phone owners send text messages -- up seven percent from just last year.

Too much texting has become what some doctors are calling an addiction.

"Anything that you can become obsessed with, and you do so much that you don't do the things you need to do with family, friends, school, job -- that can be an addiction. And texting absolutely can qualify," said Dr. Dale Archer, a clinical psychologist.

And teenage girls lead the charge.

"So, my phone has like a 30 text limit and then I have to delete it. I usually delete it like every two or three hours," one admitted.

The average 100 messages a day. This teenager is a textbook case.

"I can't even count," she added.

And with excessive texting come a number of problems, including lack of eating, isolation and sleep deprivation, experts say.

But the problem isn't limited to teens. A Google search revealed thousands of hits related to adults who have run into trouble while texting.

A Chicago cop is suing the city for two years of overtime pay for time spent on his Blackberry after work. A woman in Staten Island, N.Y., fell down an open manhole while texting and walking.

"All day long, from the minute I wake up until I shut it off at night and go to sleep, I'm on the phone constantly," said Deanne Katsaros.

Deanne used her iPhone until the tendons connecting her thumb to her palm became so inflamed that she needed surgery and stitches to correct the problem.

But with so many people hooked, the question becomes, how do you unplug and still stay connected?

Dr. David Greenfield, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Center for Internet Behavior talked to Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith about getting hooked on texting:

We'll continue this discussion tomorrow with questions from you, our viewers. A panel of our Early Show experts will be along to address any tech related questions you have - everything from talking to your kids about their use of technology, to the physical ailments we suffer from too much texting, to the way the digital age can impact your finances.

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