Nomophobia: No phone causes extreme panic and discomfort

Ola Rembiszewska, In-Depth Editor

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 Nomophobia is the fear of being without a phone. Nomophobia stems from the increased reliance on technology and worry over what might happen if you can’t access information quickly. People with nomophobia sometimes experience anxiety when having to put down their phone or knowing they won’t be having any service for a while.

      In the world we live in today, phones and technology are evolving and for most of us it’s a must have to own a cell phone. Most people are able to put down their phone for a while and avoid using it, but for people with nomophobia, just the fear of doing that makes it hard. 

     A 2019 study done by Psychology Today said that 66 percent of adults in the U.S. have nomophobia. According to Heathline.com, a website that focuses on mental and physical health, nomophobia isn’t listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but there is a wide range of symptoms. They may include extreme panic or anxiety when not being able to find your phone briefly, anxiousness and agitation when knowing that you won’t be able to use your phone for a while, tightness in chest, excessive sweating and trembling. 

    People with nomophobia will often do anything to be within close reach of their phone, for example, taking it to the shower. Without their phone, anxiety rises and they may feel helpless and go into a state of panic. 

     According to cbtcognitivebehavioraltherapy.com, you can map out your day to try and be less dependent on your phone. You should try to balance out the time that you spend on your screen with the time that you spend on your phone. During the time alone, you must have face-to-face dialogue or do anything that doesn’t require a phone. When you lie down at night, you should keep the phone within 4-5 meters from reach as well. 

    With the rise of the dependence on technological use, nomophobia has been consistently increasing but treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and/or exposure therapy can be taken to decrease symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be used to help and prevent negative thoughts when thinking about being away from your phone.  Exposure is used more to have you get used to not being around your phone as much. Exposure therapy can do things like put you in a situation where you don’t have your phone and as you panic, they provide you with methods to deal with that anxiety. Both are proven very effective and can create life-long positive changes.