Do you own a cell phone? Chances are you have Nomophobia

(KTVI)– Most of us today are very attached to our smartphones.  But you might be shocked to know you’re probably addicted to it.

Are you constantly check your smartphone throughout the day?  Do you get nervous if you’re not in reach of your phone?   Are you constantly checking your battery power?

We all know how attached we are to our smart phones but sometimes the addiction doesn’t really hit us until we’re left without it.  Research shows that 73 percent of Americans would feel “panicked” if they lost their mobile phone, while 14 percent took it a step further and said they would feel “desperate” without their device.   In 2008, British researchers even gave it a name, nomophia- the fear of being without a cell phone.

“What it illustrates in part is the way in which that we’ve become very dependent on an external validation and external connectiveness,” says Barnes Jewish Hospital psychiatrist Dr. Nigel Lester.

And while certainly not as debilitating as chemical based addictions, a leading drug and alcohol recovery center has founded the first recovery group for people suffering with nomophobia.   A therapist with Morningside Recovery Center Therapist says cell phone addiction is often connected to larger issues.

“Whether that be anxiety, fear and like an alcoholic will turn to alcohol to numb pain or cope people are turning to cell phones or social media to cope with whatever is emotionally or mentally inside,” said therapist Joel Edwards.

While the average person’s cell phone use probably doesn’t warrant a trip to rehab, our preoccupation with technology could be affecting are lives more than we realize; from our relationships, to our work, even our ability to be present in the moment.

A Youtube viral  video, titled “i Forgot My Phone” highlights what cell phone addiction looks like from an outside perspective. The various scenes show how we use technology at the expense of forging real, human connection and our obsession with capturing every moment instead of merely just experiencing it.

“For some people it’s almost going to be as if they weren’t there, it’s almost going to be as if they watched it on TV because watching is flickering pictures through your view finder or whether it’s on TV it’s essentially appealing to a different part of the brain,’ said Dr. Lester.

And while most aren’t about to give up their smart phones,  the experts advise taking periodic time outs from your phone, learning to turn off and tune in.

1 Comment

  • Carolyn Fleming

    I would panic if I lost my phone, much in the same way I’d panic if I lost my purse or wallet. That doesn’t signal addiction. Smartphones usually contain personal info that could lead to identity theft; they also hold photos and such that can’t be replaced.

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