Some people really struggle when they are without their mobile devices for too long. Chances are, they unconsciously have nomophobia – a psychological condition caused when someone is separated from their phone.
The condition derives its name from ‘No Mobile Phone Phobia’ which clinical psychologist, Pam Tudin-Buchalter, describes as more than just mere separation and rather a fear of missing out.”Missing out on updates, news, the ability to connect to others, and even the ability to reject others”, says Tudin-Buchalter.
Multiple studies suggest that the prevalence of nomophobia was due to a smartphone addiction, but the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care argues that it is hard to link nomophobia and addiction.
The study further explains that this condition is very complex for physicians and families to understand, given that the clinical symptoms of nomophobia are similar to those of other disorders.
Here are emotional symptoms to keep an eye out for:
- Fear when you think about not having your phone
- Anxiety or panic when you cant find your phone, or unable to use it for a while
- Irritation when you can’t check your phone
It may lead into physical symptoms:
- Trouble breathing
- Shaking or trembling
- Rapid heartbeat
- Tightness in your chest
- Increased sweating
With the growing frequency of South Africa’s load-shedding schedules disrupting close to 2 hours of screen time, for those with nomophobia, feelings of battery anxiety may kick in sooner than expected. Below are a few ways to save your battery life:
- Know when your area will experience load-shedding
- Turn off unnecessary notifications to allow your phone to ‘rest’
- Invest in a power bank
Whilst smartphone addiction and phone separation anxiety, along with nomophobia may be seen as pointless, for some individuals the anxiety that comes with being separated from their device is very real.
We highly encourage anyone struggling with their mental health to seek professional assistance.