Currently, technologies allow the majority of people in possession of a mobile phone to be continuously connected within the digital universe not only with their closest friends and family but also with all those people who are on the other side of the world . Telephone calls are outdated because nowadays mobile devices are capable of doing much more thanks to their ‘smartphone’ character. Smartphone word literally means smartphone and is a name that refers to a concept associated with high – tech telecommunications.

Today’s smartphones are not only capable of making and receiving calls and / or sms; They are also useful that provide greater connectivity with the outside world and that offer many functionalities that the user uses and sees practical. The smartphone is considered a revolution in mobile telephony because it not only works as a cell phone, but also serves as a notepad, camera, calendar, alarm clock, agenda, video or voice recorder, photo album and a long and so on. If we add to the latter that more functionalities can be added to the mobile through the well-known Apps, the Smartphone becomes practically something essential on a day-to-day basis.

Today’s world revolves around online communications and a high percentage of the world’s population can easily access a smartphone that fulfills all the functions mentioned above. Although the rapid access to information and the greater ease of contact has meant a great advance in society, it is also true that the existence of this ultra connectivity has caused problems such as, for example, nomophobia.

What is nomophobia?

The name of nomophobia is given to that irrational and uncontrollable fear that a person feels when they do not have their mobile phone at hand. The word nomophobia comes from the abbreviation of English origin ‘no mobile puts phobia’ and this term was coined in the United Kingdom when it was found that a large number of the British population felt anxiety , stress and bad mood when spending time without using their mobile phone, Either by leaving home without it or because it was running out of battery.

The technological addictions are a reality , and if it is true they are not comparable with drug dependence as these do not mean a serious organic wear, they can generate psychological and social problems . Currently, the term addiction not only encompasses dependence on toxic substances such as drugs, but can also be associated with behaviors and behaviors that, at first, do not seem dangerous. Using the mobile would be a totally normal behavior in these times, but its unhealthy use could turn into a behavioral addiction.

In this way, nomophobia is translated as the loss of control before an activity, which in this case would be to use the mobile phone and as the development of a dependency relationship towards it in which the interest in other different activities disappears, it is not aware of the negative that such behavior is and before which the withdrawal syndrome is experienced if it is not carried out.

What are the symptoms of nomophobia?

The symptoms of nomophobia are easily identifiable since the main object is a mobile phone and it will only be enough to do the test of spending several hours without it to know whether or not one is dependent on their smartphone. In any case, there are symptoms that are quite serious and that can end up leading to more serious problems:

1. Feeling anxiety or an unstoppable need to use the mobile and check if we have received new messages. These feelings can come to light if the person in question realizes that they have forgotten their mobile at home, if they think they have lost it or if they have run out of battery.

2. Neglect of usual activities and / or hobbies . One of the most notorious symptoms that a person with a mobile addiction can experience is neglecting or abandoning any other activity in order to be checking their smartphone. This section not only includes recreational activities but also activities with family or friends, academic and also those that have to do with responsibilities with the work environment. Being deprived of sleep will also be another unequivocal sign, especially if the daily rest does not last more than five hours.

3. Irritability and mood swings . If before the impossibility of using the Smartphone, the person in question shows signs of irritability and these do not disappear with the passage of minutes, but rather worsen, it is likely that they suffer from nomophobia. Mood swings are quite common in these situations and, above all, at the insistence of friends or family to show the problem, the addict will always deny their dependence as a defense mechanism .

Is there treatment?

The truth is that, within addictions and whatever they may be, there are no medical treatments. Even so, if there is psychological therapy as the main point to try to overcome a dependency relationship. From this point of view, it is important to study the individual case of each person since phobias develop in different degrees depending on this person. The help must be personalized and must be carried out according to the level of affectation and according to the daily life, as well as their social and family relationships, of the person who has an addiction to their mobile.

In the case of nomophobia, success will mean when the person in question is able to be disconnected from their mobile without this posing any problem. The process must be progressive and it will be very important that multidisciplinary work be done in which they help to control emotions and impulses, improve self-esteem and develop strategies and tools to avoid relapses. The environment, on the other hand, will also play a very important role in the whole process as it will help the addict in each step he takes to reach his goal.

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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