Addicted to your phone? You could be suffering from Nomophobia!

Ritu Singh

Almost everyone owns a cell phone these days and people remain so hooked to them that they lose contact with the world around them. This behaviour is understandable with the technology hovering over us and creeping into our lives in every aspect. 

But at what point does this incessant phone use and the resulting fear of being out of touch become a real phobia? The world is progressing on all fronts, technologically speaking but at the same time is threatened by the challenges that the new found technology has to offer.

Has your smartphone become like your limb without which you cannot live? Do you suffer from withdrawal symptoms when you are asked to part with it even for a minute? Do you constantly need to touch and hold it and get panic attacks when you find it missing?

If at every question, you nod your head in the affirmative then you definitely are suffering from Nomophobia. First identified in 2008, nomophobia ( no mobile phone phobia) is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

This intense psychological attachment to phones and excessive dependence on it is the defining characteristic of this phobia. People who suffer from this, experience acute desperation and are not able to focus on their work and their personal lives either.

 Some people may think their phone is ringing or vibrating when it's not, a condition named cell phone vibration syndrome. These mobile phone users get anxiety if they run out of battery or have no network coverage and will go to any extent to achieve that. Also switching off mobiles could be a matter of irrational fear for them.

In a survey, it was found out that, 63% of respondents check their phone for messages or calls once an hour, while 9% said they checked their phone every five minutes. More women worry about losing their phones than men – 70% of the women surveyed compared to 61% of the men.

Some psychologists have proposed adding nomophobia to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is considered to be the ultimate authority on mental health.

Ways it affects your health:

Constantly staring at your phone strains your eyes because of the small fonts and the bright light. This has the potential to develop into computer vision syndrome, a condition that can lead to dry eyes, difficulty in focusing and double vision.

You could develop text neck, which is a condition arising from stress and pressure triggered by texting and browsing constantly on your phone.

It has been found out that a two hour exposure to the light from these devices can suppress melatonin by about 22% making it more difficult to get to sleep.

People who are obsessed with their smartphones are more at risk of severe psychopathologies which include somatic symptoms, attentional deficits and aggression.