Nomophobia is the irrational fear of being without mobile phone. It is a growing fear in today’s world and quite common among the new generation, and it is emerging as a silent killer.

Nomophobia is everywhere, in industrialized nations. India, too, has put its footsteps into such a phobic environment. The term is an abbreviation for ‘no-mobile phone phobia’, which was coined during a 2010 survey by the UK post office.

Years ago people used to shower affection to near and dear ones with the phrase, ‘I can’t live without you’ but now it much applies to their phones. Smart phones have increasingly become the tool used to navigate and organize the daily life. It has become important in all walks of life from keeping calendars, getting directions, and communicating instantly with others, to seeking help for answers to any questions, connecting people and many more.

Having a source of near omniscience in pockets, people typically fail to remember simple things, including phone numbers of their family members. The dependence on devices is clearly increasing and which in turn has led to important psychological consequences. The moment they are separated from their devices, a fear hits them like hurricane.

The Changes In A Nomophobic State:

Research indicates that such addiction is mostly related to psychological factor.

Nomophobia is often accompanied by the feelings of inadequacy and fear of disapproval. It also changes ones personality and even can be easy prey to pre-existing mental disorders. It may also create social phobia, social anxiety and panic disorder. The anxiety caused by it causes high blood pressure and also reduces attention span of an individual resulting in less productivity at work.

Too much indulgence with the cell phone may even impair relationships and create isolation. It affects the sleep patterns. It’s a colossal waste of time as multi-tasking along with the use of cell phone is not worth as information can’t be retained and processed while multi-tasking.

nomophobia – The News Mill

Nomophobic people tend to suffer from skin problems as well. Constant contact with phone causes acne, allergies and dark spots. The social skills of people also tend to suffer because of this disorder.

Way To Model A Balanced Approach:

  • There should be daily times to turn off the cell phone and experience face to face interaction or solitude
  • Technology fast should be tried even for a single day in a month without a phone or tablet.
  • Placing the phone away from bed while sleeping at night
  • Establishing phone free zones and phone breaks while working
  • Customizing notifications as constant notifications from various apps in phone are distracting.
  • Getting rid of unnecessary apps which creates distractions but of no use
  • Using the old-fashioned way of keeping track of time with watches rather than phone

Smartphone Addiction Therapy

If these changes in habit are not helpful in cutting down the cell phone use, then one could be a victim of severe smart phone addiction and treatment is recommended which includes:

  • Individual therapy: the therapist works to address any underlying problems or co-occurring mental disorders that could be affecting cell phone use.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: it aims to change maladaptive thoughts, thoughts, feelings and behaviors into healthy and positive ones. This method has been proven affecting in treating internet addiction, which is very similar to cell phone addiction
  • Motivational interviewing: it is centered on the client and helps to identify the difference between current state and desired state and allows finding motivation to make a positive behavioral change.

Cell phones, tablets, computers and other technology are the innovation of mankind and introduced to make life easier, enable to work efficiently and to save time. So the principle should be to follow one goal and that is… “technology should be a servant, not a master”.

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About Maria Choudhury


Maria Choudhury is a research scholar of psychology at Gauhati University in Guwahati.


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