Your Smartphone: A Medium Of Communication Or A Borderline Addiction?

mobile addiction

To some of us, smartphones serve as immensely productive tools. To others, a borderline addiction that dominates every waking hour. NO MObile PHone PhoBIA or Nomophobia is one such most common modern-day phobias that most of us are unaware of! Here’s a quick sneak peak on what it means and how to break free from this phobia.

What is Nomophobia?

It is a psychological condition wherein people have a fear of being without a mobile phone. It is often fueled by an Internet overuse problem or Internet addiction disorder and rarely the phone itself that causes the compulsion. In fact, most of us are rarely ever more than 5 feet from our smartphones.

Negative Impacts of Smartphone or Internet Addiction

Fueling anxiety: Researchers[1] have found that the heavier a person’s phone use, the greater the anxiety they experience.

Increasing stress: The need to continually check your smartphone and respond to work mails can contribute to higher stress levels and even burnout. 

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Overwhelming brain: The constant pings on a smartphone can overwhelm the brain and compel to stream different kinds of ideas or thoughts at one point of time.

Diminishing concentration and creativity: Overuse of smartphones or the internet can distract you from important tasks and interrupt the quiet moments that are crucial to creativity. 

Encouraging negative personality traits: People who spend a lot of time on smartphones or the internet are more likely to display unhealthy self-centeredness, neglect face-to-face relations and distance from real-life problems..

Disturbing sleep: Excessive smartphone use can disrupt your sleep, which can have a serious impact on your overall mental health. 

Nomophobia: Look for the Warning Signs

Trouble completing tasks at work or home

-Isolation from family and friends

-Having a FOMO (fear of missing out)

-Concealing your smartphone use

-Getting irritated or cranky if your online time is interrupted

-Pain in eyes, neck, or back due to smartphone use

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A Victim of Nomophobia? Take The Test To Know! 

Here is a quick self-assessment test to know if you may have Nomophobia[1]. Test Yourself NOW!

1. Is your time spent on the internet longer than what you had originally planned?

2. Do you have the need to be online longer in order to be satisfied?

3. Do you think about your previous or future online activities?

4. Do you become moody, restless, irritable or depressed when you stop or decrease your Internet use?

5. Did your online use negatively affect a significant relationship, education, career, or job?

6. Do you conceal the extent of your Internet usage from your therapist, family or others?

7. Does the Internet serve as an escape from real life problems or relief from a bad mood?

8. Have you made repeated but unsuccessful attempts to cut back, stop or decrease your Internet use?

If your answer is “Yes” to 5 out of these 8 questions, you may be suffering from Internet addiction. If you are struggling to cut back on your smartphone usage? Consult an expert to get the right advice.Consult NOW!

How To Break Free?

-Recognize the triggers that make you reach for your phone. For example, is it when you’re lonely or bored? Then, develop a hobby and spare your time for that.

-Understand the difference between interacting in-person and online.

Set goals for when you can use your smartphone.

-Turn off your phone at certain times of the day, such as when you’re driving, in a meeting, at the gym, having dinner, or playing with your kids. 

-Avoid using your phone or tablet in bed.

-Replace your smartphone use with healthier activities like meditating, exercising, reading a book, or chatting with friends in person.

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1mg Supertip: Play the “phone stack” game when you’re having lunch or dinner. Everyone at the table needs to place the smartphone facing down on the table. Let it buzz and beep, but no one is allowed to grab it unless each one has finished the meal. 

Learning to control your smartphone and internet addiction can help you to better balance your life, both online and offline. 

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)

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1. Černja, I., Vejmelka, L. & Rajter, M. Internet addiction test: Croatian preliminary study. BMC Psychiatry 19, 388 (2019).

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