Nomophobia aka ‘NO MObile PHone PhoBIA’ is the modern malady that describes an irrational fear of being without or unable to use one’s smartphone.

The term was coined in 2008 during a study that sought to evaluate the possibility of anxiety disorders among individuals who used mobile phones excessively. The findings of the study revealed that about 53% of Brits who used mobile phones were found to be apprehensive when they lost their phones, their phones ran out of credit or battery or there was no network coverage.

The burden of the fear of being detached from smartphone connectivity is now increasing among the millennials worldwide. This condition has been described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as a ‘phobia for particular/specific things’. When an individual overuses mobile phones, several psychological factors including low self-esteem are involved.

Here are a few ways to tell if you might be suffering from nomophobia:

1. Getting anxious when your phone’s battery gets low- You might feel your heartbeat racing and get sweaty palms when you notice that your phone’s battery levels are getting lowered. It occurs as a result of worrying that you might lose access to your social media feeds, emails, or become un-contactable. Such a feeling of anxiety is a clear sign of nomophobia.

2. You can’t ever be seen without your mobile phone- Can’t ever leave your phone, no matter where you go? Being unable to contemplate existing without your mobile phone, even during the most mundane activities of everyday life is a sure sign of unhealthy obsession.

3. Getting worked up about being unable to access your smartphone- This is called ‘smartphone separation anxiety’ that makes you feel extremely annoyed when you miss scrolling down through your mobile phone. Some people also get agitated when they are instructed not to use their smartphone.

4. When your mobile phone addiction affects your productivity- Smartphone dependency might sometimes put people at risk of losing their jobs because of their inability to resist checking their phones even during meetings. When your smartphone addiction is a hindrance to multitasking, affects your concentration, consumes at least a couple of hours of office hours, it clearly indicates nomophobia.

5. When you prioritize smartphone usage over safety- Texting while driving is worse than drunk driving since it reduces your reaction time significantly. When you believe that replying to a message or reacting to a social media post is more important than your safety while driving, you do have nomophobia!

Nomophobia- The millennial malady mohamed_hassan, Pixabay