Nomophobia: what are the symptoms of mobile addiction?

In the last decade, the use of mobile phones has grown exponentiallyespecially since the arrival of smart phones. These, moreover, have become essential objects in our day-to-day life all areas: work, leisure, social, etc. This led many people to develop dependence and addiction problems. It is what is known as nomophobia.

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The term nomophobia comes from the English “no cell phone phobia” and it involves that irrational fear of being without our cell phones. It may sound like a rare disorder, but a 2019 YouGov Real Time study found it 44% of the people surveyed — all of them from the United Kingdom — suffered anxiety if they didn’t take your cell phone.

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What are the symptoms of nomophobia?

Some of the symptoms which, according to the European Institute, reveal whether a person is addicted to their mobile phone are the following:

  • Someone who uses the phone whenever they are alone
  • You feel anxious or uncomfortable when you don’t have access to your mobile device
  • Phone use interferes with work performance
  • He tries to limit the number of hours he spends on the phone, but he can’t do it quickly
  • At night he wakes up to check his phone

What are the causes behind this addiction?

Behind every addiction there are a number of causes. In the case of nomophobia, they range from low self-esteem due to difficulties in developing social relationships. They are fundamental factors, since they lead to the search for the absolute approval of others, which many people find through social networks.

The role of dopamine is also very important in this sense. It is a chemical that the brain secretes when confronted situations that are rewarding. And one of the problems of an addiction lies in this process: in the habit of getting that “dose” of dopamine every time you check your phone, in the case of nomophobia.

And, although it is true that anyone can suffer from nomophobia, it is more common among teenagers between 14 and 16 years.

How can it be treated?

There are already treatment centers that offer digital detoxification programs, as well as types of therapy to eradicate these types of addictions, which can lead to illnesses such as stress or depression.

One of the best-known inventions in this field is the Lightweight phonebut which his own company qualified as “a pretty smart ‘dumb’ phone”. It’s a device designed like a smartphone, but it only lets you make calls and tell the time.


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