Nomophobia: what are the symptoms of mobile addiction?

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

The term nomophobia comes from the English “no-mobile-phone-phobia” and implies that irrational fear of being without our mobile phones. It may seem like a rare disorder, but a 2019 YouGov Real Time study found that 44% of people surveyed — all of them from the UK — suffered from anxiety if they didn’t carry your mobile phone.

What are the symptoms of nomophobia?

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

  • Someone who uses the telephone whenever they are alone
  • Feels anxiety or discomfort when does not have access to your mobile device
  • Phone use interferes with job performance
  • Tries to limit the number of hours spent on mobile but quickly fails to follow through
  • At night wakes up to check phone

What causes are behind this addiction?

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

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

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

How can it be treated?

There are already treatment centers that offer digital detoxification programs, as well as types of therapy to eradicate this type of addiction, which can lead to diseases such as stress or depression.

One of the most well-known inventions in this field is the Light Phone, but which its own company has described as “quite an intelligent ‘dumb’ phone”. It is a device designed like a smart phone, but it only allows you to make calls and indicate the time.

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