Nomophobia – Is it an Addiction?

Nomophobia is freaking everywhere! If you are from a developed nation your chances of having this phobia are an outstanding 80-90%. Crazy right? Well for those who don’t know what nomophobia is derived from, “nomobile-phone-phobia“. It’s the fear of not having a mobile phone in your presence. People much like myself think that the phone is a part of our body, a 5th limb and it is literally taking over our lives.

I literally get petrified when I see the battery bar go into the red zone. I shit you not. And the last thing I want to do is conserve the battery. Like a kid with a new toy, I want to play with it until I’m sick of it (FYI, I haven’t got sick of it yet). Knowing that this is a reoccurring problem I did end up buying an external charger, which by the way was a freaking brilliant idea and I definitely do recommend it.

But seriously more and more of the younger generation are exposed to the latest in mobile phone technology and it is very addictive. A decade ago this would have been all different as the functionality of the phones back then were inferior by comparison. It was the time when mobile phones were for the sole purpose of contacting people via text messages or phone calls.

Now days the problem is actually real to the point that it is scary. Check out these stats by Text Magic!






66% of people suffer from it?! Really? It must be a heavy reliance on their so called ‘busy’ lifestyle. Right?








It is reasonable to think that losing your phone is an ‘expensive loss and inconvenient’, but whether that is the truth is arguable.





1 in 2. Yeah, 50% of people look at their phone whilst ‘lying in bed’. Wow! Literally the last thing they do before going to bed.





So I think we can clearly establish that, our phones are an ‘addiction’, well at least for the majority. Google defines addiction as the following, “Addiction is a state defined by compulsive engagement in naturally rewarding behavior or compulsive drug use, despite adverse consequences; it can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors”.

I’m not sure if I was the only one that thought this whilst reading that definition, but I thought to myself “oh f***”, followed by an awkward silence. I broke that definition down to see how accurate it was.

1. Compulsive Engagement in naturally rewarding behavior or compulsive drug use, despite adverse consequences.

Fortunately I don’t really partake in drug use, but could the “smartphone” be a metaphorical drug? It definitely compulsively engages me and I do reap its rewards. Scientifically speaking there is said to be an increase in dopamine when you see a new message, email or as a matter of fact any notification that vibrates, rings or pops up. Dr David Greenfield an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine mentions that, “The thing is you don’t know what it’s going to be or when you’re going to get it, and that’s what compels the brain to keep checking. It’s like the world’s smallest slot machine.” Pretty much confirming our fears are, in fact, true. Great!

What about the adverse consequences you might ask. Well, it’s looking pretty gloomy as well. Not without going into too much detail (because it’s pretty depressing) Medical Daily listed the top 5 reasons why cell phones are bad for your health, and they are both psychological and physiological. I mean this can all be a scare tactic for who knows what god damn reason, but long story short mobile phones can and do have adverse consequences. *sigh*

2. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors.

I hit an absolute double whammy here, well on the provision that it is an actual disease. Robert Piper of the Huffington Post explains that the “cell phone plague” is the worst thing since the “bubonic plague“. Well, minus all the blood and deaths that is. He explains that cell phone users are usually not conscious of his or her surroundings and their worlds are revolving around what they can hold in their hands.

Personally speaking, I am quite often ‘zoned out’ and rather ‘zombie-like’. And nothing says disease like zombies or the modern day influence of popular TV shows like ‘The Walking Dead’. Honestly, we do become entranced by these little pocket-sized wonders. Anything you want or need can be found and it is somewhat of an epidemic considering how many people are ‘infected’ by the computer/technology bug. I’m not saying it’s like the current Ebola situation in West Africa, but if it is considered a disease this one is global.

Earlier I mentioned that this one is a double whammy, well this one is more specific and generalized to the orientals like myself. Yeah I know I’m stereotyping and being racist. Blah, blah, blah. But you know what, my dad loves, and I mean LOVES technology. I personally do not know if that specific trait is recessive, but psychologically speaking “community” upbringing plays a large part in how you become as a person. Thus my situation is worsened in this scenario when speaking about ‘biological process’.

So, I’m not sure how you scored but it isn’t looking too good for myself.

But the way I see it, it’s more of a ‘risk and reward’ kind of situation. Sure the situation may look grim but is it really in retrospect? To me it is really ironic that this addiction and attachment to a cell phone (which is shared by the millions, if not billions) is something to be afraid of (ironically this can be considered as the first stage: denial, but not why it’s actually ironic). Realistically we lock ourselves into this metaphorical prison which disconnect us from what is happening around us, around the world. But if you think about it the capabilities and applications which are available on our phones is what bring us together. The internet community, if it was recognized by its sheer size, would be bigger than Christianity ten-folds.

Yes, it is disheartening to think that social aspects of our lives are moving on to a technological frontier and the traditional face to face stuff is slowly phasing out. Let’s be honest, you’ve definitely been told in the past to put your phone down. “It’s unsocial.” But this does not mean that it’s going to disappear. It just means that ‘convenience’ above all is our burden. The portability and availability of smart phones make it twice as addictive and rather intoxicating.

Technology is rapidly improving and with that comes efficiency, which is fantastic. You can be anywhere, at any time using the internet to your liking. Things such as social media keeps us updated with current affairs within the certain circles you may be involved in and getting in touch with anyone is a breeze. The plethora of games that will keep you busy for hours on end. You can manage your business on it. The functions of a smartphone are endless. There is no denying it.

So is it a phobia or an addiction? I think all in all it is the addiction that makes this a phobia. I personally hate letting my phone out of my sight and it has nothing to do with the content on it. It’s more so an attachment issue, the thought of letting go. Is it like giving your own child away? No, it’s definitely not. It is the modern day heroin. Everyone needs to get a ‘hit’, off something, off anything. Mine just happens to be with something that is done by the majority of the current world.

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