There are phobias of all kinds, but this is new.
“NO MObile PHone phoBIA": Neologism that indicates the irrational fear of being disconnected, of losing or not having access to your smartphone.
It is a growing social evil, born of the interaction between man and machine, so significant that the Cambridge Dictionary has declared Nomophobia Word of the Year for 2018.
Describes a condition that psychologists feel is increasingly common in our world, Psichiatry Advisor defines it "The modern-day pathology", a modern-day pathology candidate to enter the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-V), thus a topic of such topicality to stimulate a lively debate in the medical community on the its classification; Is it a phobia, an anxiety disorder, a lifestyle disorder or an addiction?
What exactly is nomophobia?
The telephone today as an object has become a subject, it is perceived as an identity, an extension of being, a "virtual self" that is as important as the real one and that lives only if there is a connection. I exist and others exist only if I am connected, so nomophobia would manifest itself just when si risks being cut off from the internet world or being unable to connect to the internet of friends, family, work, news, etc. and presents a number of identifiable symptoms: increased heart rate and blood pressure, shortness of breath, anxiety, nausea, tremors, dizziness, depression, discomfort, stress, fear and panic.
Who are the most affected?
According to Psychology Today, 58% of men and 47% of women probably suffer from nomophobia and an additional 9% feel stressed when they have to keep their mobile phones switched off.
The most sensitive are the young and the elderly, with a peak in the adolescent segment where the malaise is practically widespread in all industrialized countries.
Scientists at the City University of Hong Kong are convinced that smartphones are now so advanced and personal that they have become an extension of ourselves.
“When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to become attached to devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by increasing the tendency to seek telephone proximity", Says the report, published in the magazine Cyberpsychology.
Damage to oneself and collateral damage
The problem arises when you live more in the virtual than in the real, neglecting or abandoning activities and relationships in everyday social and professional life such as work, study, friends or sport because you prefer to stay on the phone. Numerous researches have already demonstrated the devastating effects of the cellular at the molecular level, not to mention the spillover consequences on the functioning of the brain, cellular dependence imbalances the neurotransmitters to the detriment of normal brain functions, neurons slow down, with effects such as attention deficit and loss of control.
Attacks on their own and others' safety have increased: in the last few years, drivers and pedestrians on the phone have increased the number of accidents caused by carelessness.
TEST: HOW MUCH ARE I DEPENDENT ON THE CELL?
This scientific test, conceived by dr. Caglar Yildirim of the State University of New York, will tell you how addicted you are to your mobile. Rate each item on a scale from 1 (completely disagree) to 7 (completely agreed) and mark the total score to find out.
In answering we must be honest!
1. I would feel uncomfortable without constant access to information through my smartphone.
2. It would irritate me not being able to look up information on my cell phone whenever I want.
3. I would be nervous about not being able to receive news (e.g. events, weather, etc.)
4. It would irritate me if I could not use my phone and / or its functions when I wanted to do it.
5. Running out of battery would scare me.
6. If I run out of credit or reach the monthly data limit, I'd panic.
7. If I had no signal or could not connect to Wi-Fi, I would constantly check to see if the signal is back or if there is an available wireless.
8. If I could not use my smartphone, I would be afraid of getting stuck.
9. If I could not control the phone for a while, I would feel like doing so.
If you didn't have a cell phone with me ...
10. I feel anxious about not being able to communicate instantly with my family and / or friends.
11. I would worry because my family and / or friends could not reach me.
12. I would get nervous because I wouldn't be able to receive messages and calls.
13. I would be anxious about not being able to stay in touch with family and / or friends.
14. It would upset me not to know if anyone is trying to contact me.
15. I would be anxious because the constant connection with my family and my friends would be broken.
16. It would annoy me to disconnect from my online identity.
17. I would be uncomfortable without updates from the social networks and the network.
18. It would bother me not being able to check notifications.
19. I would be anxious because I could not check e-mail.
20. I would feel strange because I don't know what to do.
No nomophobia, you have a healthy relationship with your cell phone and you have no problem separating yourself from it.
Slight nomophobia. You feel a little anxious when you forget your phone or get stuck somewhere without WiFi, but nothing overwhelming.
Moderate nomophobia. You are quite attached to your phone. You often check it as you walk down the street or relate to others and you often feel anxious when the connection is missing. Is it time for a digital detox?
Severe nomophobia. You can barely stay for only 60 seconds without a phone. It is the first thing you check in the morning and the last before you go to sleep and dominates most of your intermediate activities. The time may have come for serious intervention.
What to do?
We have already addressed the topic of fears and phobias, to overcome them. Taking awareness seems to be the best path, the awareness-oriented approaches have achieved the most encouraging results. In this video, possible exit routes.
- Reduce connection times: refrain from checking the phone for a few hours a day, especially at night.
- Social: restricts browsing on social networks, establish a timetable.
- Notifications: deactivate it, thus avoiding temptations.
- Cleaning: if the mobile device is full of photos, apps and games, it can be useful to explore the feelings associated with their deletion. This can facilitate a gradual process of liberating both the telephone and the mind.