There’s a New Phobia On the Rise: Nomophobia

Smartphones have been a part of our lives for so long that it’s difficult for us to remember when we didn’t have them. Even 20 years ago, the kind of tech we see in today’s phones would have been unimaginable. As their role in modern society has increased, scientists have scrambled to keep tabs on the effects of all of this phone use. The latest phone-related malady is “nomophobia.” If you squint at the word, you can just about tell it’s derived from the phrase “no mobile phone phobia.” It describes the panic and anxiety that people feel when they have to navigate the world without their phone. A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care revealed that about half of mobile phone users feel some degree of anxiety when they misplace their phone, have no network coverage, or leave their phone at home by mistake. People with nomophobia may be susceptible to feelings of stress and uncertainty that come from the loss of connectedness they experience when they’re without their phones. Symptoms of nomophobia include fear or panic when you can’t access your phone; anxiety at the thought of being without your phone for a period of time; and even physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, a tight chest, and a rapid heart rate. More research is needed to continue to unravel the factors that may lead someone to develop nomophobia. In the meantime, if you do experience any of these symptoms of anxiety when you can’t use your phone for whatever reason, it could be helpful to speak to a healthcare professional.