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Tech

A psychologist describes a new phobia on the rise: “nomophobia”

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like without a smartphone? Some may envision a life of peace without distraction, while others may envision a life with less convenience and connection.

Others, however, may be completely terrified by the idea. Psychological research has uncovered a new fear: “nomophobia” – where people become frightened, anxious and panicked at the thought of being without their smartphone.

To measure the severity of this phobia and its impact on daily life, researchers have developed a test intended to assess and diagnose nomophobia. This tool not only highlights the prevalence of this modern anxiety, but also sparks a broader discussion about our reliance on technology and its implications on mental well-being.

What is “nomophobia”?

Contract the sentence “Nobile pha photobias”, research defines nomophobia as the fear of being detached from smartphone connectivity. Although not yet considered a legitimate mental disorder like other specific phobias, such as fear of animals, storms, heights, etc., the conceptualization of nomophobia is based on the definitions in the Manual of diagnosis of mental disorders.

Research highlights that symptoms of nomophobia include many of those seen in other specific phobias, such as anxiety, tremors, sweating, restlessness, and difficulty breathing. It has also been found that people with low self-esteem and extroversion may be more prone to excessive smartphone use and therefore more likely to suffer from nomophobia.

According to a study to review global statistics on the prevalence of phobia, approximately 21% of the adult population suffers from severe nomophobia and approximately 71% of the population suffers from moderate nomophobia. Researchers revealed that college and university students appear to be most affected by the disease, with an alarming prevalence of 25%.

Coping with nomophobia can be incredibly difficult, given the pervasive role smartphones play in modern life. The constant connectivity they provide has become an integral part of daily routine, making the mere thought of separation a source of intense anxiety for many. This phobia not only induces immediate emotional distress, but can also contribute to long-term psychological effects that can affect overall well-being.

How to know if you have “nomophobia”

The need for tools and methods to identify nomophobia is becoming increasingly essential. The prevalence of the phobia suggests a broader societal shift toward reliance on technology, raising questions about potential mental health consequences.

As modern problems require modern solutions, a study of Computers and human behavior sought to address the emerging need to identify and combat nomophobia. Through their research, a questionnaire was developed and validated to diagnose nomophobia. To use this self-report measure, individuals rate each statement on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree:”

  1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information via my smartphone.
  2. I would be annoyed if I couldn’t search for information on my smartphone whenever I wanted.
  3. Not being able to receive news (e.g. events, weather, etc.) on my smartphone would make me nervous.
  4. I would be annoyed if I couldn’t use my smartphone and/or its capabilities whenever I wanted.
  5. Running out of battery in my smartphone would scare me.
  6. If I were to run out of credits or hit my monthly data limit, I would panic.
  7. If I didn’t have a data signal or couldn’t connect to Wi-Fi, I constantly checked to see if I had a signal or could find a Wi-Fi network.
  8. If I couldn’t use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stuck somewhere.
  9. If I couldn’t check my smartphone for a while, I would feel the desire to check it.

If I didn’t have my smartphone with me:

  1. I felt anxious because I couldn’t communicate instantly with my family and/or friends.
  2. I would be worried because my family and/or friends wouldn’t be able to reach me.
  3. I would feel nervous because I wouldn’t be able to receive texts or calls.
  4. I would be anxious because I wouldn’t be able to stay in touch with family and/or friends.
  5. I was nervous because I couldn’t tell if anyone had tried to contact me.
  6. I would feel anxious because my constant connection with my family and friends would be broken.
  7. I would be nervous because I would be disconnected from my online identity.
  8. I would be uncomfortable because I wouldn’t be able to stay up to date with social media and online networks.
  9. I would feel uncomfortable because I wouldn’t be able to check my notifications for updates from my online connections and networks.
  10. I felt anxious because I couldn’t check my emails.
  11. I would feel weird because I wouldn’t know what to do.

The questionnaire covers four different fear factors of nomophobia: inability to communicate, loss of connection, inaccessibility of information, and forgoing convenience. Recognizing these patterns in yourself could be the first step toward a healthier relationship with technology and a better understanding of your own digital habits.

Conclusion

Identifying and tackling nomophobia is crucial, not only for our own mental health, but also for society as a whole. Consider taking a moment to reflect on these statements and evaluate your own feelings about smartphone use. Understanding the intricacies of your relationship with technology can allow you to make informed decisions and, if necessary, seek help to manage nomophobia. In a world where constant connectivity has become the norm, taking the time to assess the impact of this addiction can be a crucial aspect of maintaining your mental well-being.

Wondering if you suffer from nomophobia? Take the nomophobia quiz to find out: The nomophobia questionnaire

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