Nomophobia- Addiction to the Cellular Telephone

It seems that the fears and anxieties field is also advancing to suit the technological progress of our days. How?

Nowadays almost every person carries around a cellular phone. Children are connected to it from a very young age as their parents play music for them using the parents’ smartphones, adults use it to communicate with their children and in moments of distress, and everybody else uses it constantly and daily, as an inter-personal form of communication that breaks down boundaries.

The device has become an inseparable part of all our lives.

But how will we feel if the battery dies on us before we have the chance to charge it? Or if, alas, we forget our phone when going to work in the morning and only reconnect to it when we come back?

The term “Nomophobia” should first be defined and explained.

What is Nomophobia?

Nomophobia is the post-modern anxiety that developed as a result of our deep connection to our cellular phones. The term means a fear to lose touch with our cellular phone, for any reason, including forgetting or losing it, having the device stolen, a malfunction, a battery that died on us, etc. The term was coined in 2008, following research conducted in Britain. Since then, the rate of people who felt pressure or anxiety when having to separate from their phones has been constantly rising, so much that nowadays Nomophobia is not a rare kind of anxiety at all. Despite these findings, most psychologists do not regard it as real anxiety that requires treatment, but as a normative kind of anxiety. They even claim that no person suffering from Nomophobia has ever required treatment for it.

Why is it so difficult for us to disconnect from our cellular phones? All of our acquaintances’ telephone numbers are in it, we use it to manage our meetings, reminders, and calendar, for work and to communicate with our family, as well as for social purposes. The device also includes applications and functions, that replace other devices such as computers and cameras, and even television. Many people lead their entire lives using it and therefore disconnecting from it is not easy and simple for them. In extreme cases, people feel as if they lost their whole lives when they have to be without their smartphones.


We have established that we are all connected to our cellular phones and that when, for example, we discover that the battery is about to die, our pressure rises, even slightly. But when does our situation warrant the definition of Nomophobia? Nomophobia can be identified based on familiar anxiety symptoms when these are related to being disconnected from the cellular phone:

  • Physiological (physical) symptoms: accelerated pulse, blood pressure increase, fast breathing, over-sweating, headaches and dizziness, tremor of the limbs, frequent urination, etc.
  • Cognitive (thought-related) symptoms: thinking about a major disaster that took place and that justifies great fear, a desire to escape this situation, or to find a way out. Fear of death as a result of suffocation, existential anxiety.
  • Behavioral symptoms: avoiding the anxiety-triggering factor, for example: carrying the phone charger everywhere to avoid the dying out of the battery, staying close to the cellular phone to avoid losing or forgetting it, etc. This avoidance can interfere with the person’s balanced life and affect his or her lifestyle.


The causes of Nomophobia are an inseparable part of the post-modern world:

  • Technological advancement and the improvement of cellular phones enable them to perform many functions, thereby rendering the use of additional devices unnecessary.
  • People suffering from social anxiety may feel relieved when they use the phone and, by using it, they may maintain social relationships, which, for them, are much more difficult to maintain when they have to meet people. Losing this means of communication increases the symptoms of their anxiety.
  • Developing a dependency on the phone: using it as a calendar, a reminder, a communicative tool, a work tool, etc., all lead to a deep dependency and connection between the owner and his or her device, and being disconnected from it might interfere with the management of the agenda or the work day, for example.
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