We live in a time where most of us can’t live without our mobile phones. We use them everywhere, at work, in a restaurant, during a walk, at the gym or even on the toilet! Many of us feel a strong need to be up to speed with what’s going on at all times and will always find an excuse for having our mobile phone with us. Such behaviour doesn’t necessarily indicate that someone is obsessed, of course. After all, mobile phones make our lives a lot easier.
The problem starts, however, when we panic without a mobile phone and feel as though everything we do revolves around it. Let’s call a spade a spade: it’s an addiction. It makes us feel restless and on edge. It negatively affects our lives, especially in the long run.
‘No mobile phobia’, more commonly referred to as ‘nomophobia’, is a relatively new form of anxiety disorder. As we might expect, the number of addicts is constantly increasing.
How does a nomophobia manifest itself?
● Mobile phone addicts are obsessed with being out of phone contact or being online 24 hours a day. It becomes more important than eating, meeting friends and family or even focusing on work.
● The fear of a dead battery and not being able to charge it up, particularly when a person is not at home, is another typical symptom. An addict would feel frustrated, stressed or anxious. There’s a constant need to recharge the phone.
● Every action is determined in some way by the possession of a mobile phone (e.g. an addict would use it even during shopping or at the gym).
● A nomophobic person is also likely to be afraid of someone hacking into their phone and checking the data, history or contacts and deleting important information.
● Moreover, an addict would sleep with the mobile phone next to him/herself, compulsively check phone notifications and have phantom vibrations.
With nomophobia, the lack of phone causes symptoms similar to classic neurosis: increased blood pressure, palpitations, trembling hands, intensifying feelings of panic or shortness of breath. These are signs of stress, which make a person check their phone as fast as possible.
How can you prevent yourself from becoming a nomophobic?
First, let’s answer some questions:
● Does your mobile phone dominate your life?
● Do you turn it off on holiday or at night?
● Do you take your mobile phone to the bathroom or other unusual places?
● How often do you look at your mobile phone?
These questions will help you to distance yourself from the facts and realize the impact a mobile phone has on your daily life. There’s nothing wrong with making use of the possibilities it gives us, but don’t let it affect your mental health. Try to set yourself ‘mobile-phone-free zones’, turn off your phone before going to bed. However, if you feel that your mobile phone is taking over your life, then you should probably consult a therapist. Remember that over time, a few bad habits can develop into other disorders.
Don’t let technology control your life!
More on nomophobia:
- P. Valdesolo (Scientific American), ‘Scientists Study Nomophobia: Fear of Being without a Mobile Phone’
- C. Yildirim (Iowa State University), ‘Exploring the dimensions of nomophobia: Developing and validating a questionnaire using mixed methods research’ (2014).
- T. Elmore (The Huffington Post) ‘Curing Students of Nomophobia’ (2014).
- C. Gregoire (The Huffington Post), ‘This Scientific Test Will Tell You How Addicted You Are To Your Smartphone’ (2015).
- K. Zimmerman (Forbes), ‘Is Your Cell Phone Killing Your Productivity At Work?’ (2017).
- M. Stone (Business Insider), ‘Smartphone Addiction Now Has A Clinical Name’ (2014).