What is Nomophobia? Do you feel anxious while putting down your cell phone or, are afraid of losing your cell phone service for a few hours? If yes, then there is a name for this condition.
Nomophobia – a word derived from the “NO Mobile Phone Phobia” – is a psychological condition that makes people feel anxious about not having their cell phones.
Some people feel uncomfortable while going out without their cell phone – it is normal. If you are afraid of losing your mobile connectivity for a few hours, or if it makes you anxious and fearful, this is called nomophobia.
It is a psychological condition that also has some connection with anxiety disorders like social anxiety and panic disorder.
Here you will learn about what is nomophobia, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What is nomophobia?
If a person is anxious or fearful of losing his mobile connectivity – it means he is having a psychological disorder – known as nomophobia.
A person having nomophobia develops other psychological conditions first, like anxiety or panic disorder, before developing this condition. (Source)
It is still unclear, and researchers are trying to find the answer to this question whether it is due to some stress disorders or is it due to addiction to cell phones.
According to a study conducted in 2019 among British people, almost 53% of people who own a cell phone feel anxious when they have no service or are away from their phone.
According to a 2016 study, nomophobia is more an addiction than a disorder. Even researchers suggested another name for this disorder called “Smartphone Addiction Disorder”.
There is a lot of disagreement on the nature of nomophobia, with many researchers arguing that it should not be included on the list of disorders.
Symptoms of nomophobia
Symptoms of nomophobia are almost the same as other stress and anxiety disorders like:
- Tightness in chest
- Rapid heartbeat
If you are facing nomophobia, you may find yourself helpless to overcome your symptoms.
You may recognize that your fear is extreme, and you will do everything to keep your smartphone closer to you. Like you may:
- Feel helpless without your smartphone
- Take it to the bathroom
- Spend plenty of hours using it
- Check it multiple times a day to make sure you haven’t missed a single notification or an update
Researchers are still unclear about the causes of nomophobia.
However, it is claimed that nomophobia is caused by the ease of communication provided by a cell phone. It makes people addicted to it and, as a result, forces them to show compulsive behaviors.
Few researchers believe this condition is due to existing anxiety disorder. They believe symptoms of nomophobia occur after experiencing an anxiety disorder.
The main causes include:
- A person has obsessive thoughts related to his cell phone, which leads to compulsive behaviors.
- Individuals having nomophobia use their smartphones for many hours per day.
- Social anxiety or discomfort
- Personal inferiority complex
Nomophobia is a modern type of phobia that is more common in teenagers. It shows your dependency on technology and how you feel helpless without it.
Nomophobia is currently and officially not categorized as a mental disorder so, there is no treatment plan available.
However, a mental health specialist can help you overcome this phobia of losing your cell phone.
The possible treatment options available for people with nomophobia include:
Usually, behavioral therapies are preferred to treat phobias. These therapies identify the underlying causes of phobias before treating them.
Your therapist will address the fear and concerns regarding a particular thing. If you have nomophobia, your therapist will help you address the fear of losing your smartphone.
Several therapies are used to treat phobias. One is exposure therapy which involves exposing the person to a particular situation or thing which is causing this phobia.
In cognitive-behavioral therapy, a person is exposed to the underlying ideas that are leading to nomophobia.
Your psychologist will examine you to know the underlying thoughts and may suggest a suitable therapy for you. It is good to consult a mental health care provider to overcome a phobia.
Your doctor may prescribe you a few medications to treat the symptoms of nomophobia. Clonazepam can be used to treat a few symptoms such as anxiety.
Certain drugs should not be taken without the prescription of your doctor.
Sometimes, antidepressants and tranquilizers are also prescribed by doctors to overcome the symptoms of nomophobia.
Local support groups
If someone really wants to overcome the problem of nomophobia, he can join the local social groups. These groups provide support and help address phobias.
You may find ease and relaxation after joining the social groups of your interests.
Instead of using medications, it is good to take the first step on your own. A self-help approach is the best way to treat phobia like this. The self-care approaches include:
- Understand and identify the underlying causes that are causing the phobia of losing your cell phone
- Practice yoga or breathing exercises
- Focus on muscle relaxation techniques
- Learn to live without technology or phone for some time in a day. Put it away, go for a walk, or explore a new place to visit
- Turn off your cell phone at night to get a peaceful sleep. If you need to set an alarm for the morning, make sure to put it away from you so that you cannot check it again and again at night
- You may also overcome this phobia by improving your self-esteem
- Learn to meditate and perform exercises that benefit you to cope with nomophobia
When to see a doctor?
If you are unable to overcome your phobia, you may consult a mental health care provider.
Your doctor will examine your symptoms and ask you a few questions regarding this condition.
It is also the responsibility of parents or guardians to closely monitor the children. If they are a lot more concerned about their cellphones or feel worried about losing them, parents must help them overcome this problem.
Parents must consult a doctor if they notice any symptoms in their children. A doctor will help you treat the phobia or will refer you to a psychologist to help your child treat this condition.
Nomophobia is a condition in which a person fears losing his or her cell phone or its connectivity.
A group of symptoms may occur, leading to obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors.
It is common in youngsters and teenagers – however, many individuals using a smartphone may experience some symptoms.
Nomophobia is currently not recognized as a disorder as more researchers want its inclusion from the list of mental disorders.
However, if you have nomophobia: you may overcome this problem by self-care approaches, behavioral therapies, medications, or by joining the local support groups of the same interest.