Nomophobia: Anxiety Around Cellphones


The feeling of anxiety associated with losing or forgetting their cell phones is mentioned often in popular culture, so much so that there’s now a word for the feeling: nomophobia. This term, coined around ten years ago, is used to describe the phenomenon of experiencing anxiety, distress, or discomfort from not having your cellphone with you.

The Study On Nomophobia

This year there was a study with 495 participants between the ages of 18-24, and this study involved two sets of questionnaires. One was about the dependence on cellphones of the participants and the other asked about symptoms related to mental disorders such as anxiety, feeling inadequate, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms. This study found that the people who used their phones more every day had more stress symptoms related to nomophobia when they were without them than those who used them less. People who had more symptoms of obsession-compulsion had more anxiety about leaving their phones behind. The research is inconclusive about exactly what causes the anxiety and distress when leaving phones behind, but the researchers believe that it is due to a fear of isolation, lack of communication, and a sense of not being part of a social network.

Limiting Phone Use To A Healthy Level

Cellphones have a ton of great uses for our daily lives: easy access to the internet that allows us to have great access to information, communication with your family and friends at your fingertips, and the ability to access entertaining content all in our pockets. However, it is important to keep cellphone usage to a healthy level. One way to do this is to silence your notifications when you go to bed at night, for one of the signs of overdependence on cellphones is waking up in the night to check it. Another important measure to take is to not be on your cellphone during social situations and to enjoy the company of those around you.

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