Smartphones that passion … or that disease! The NOMOPHOBIA

In NOMOPHOBIA it is established the feeling of losing something if you do not constantly monitor the phone. The risk is a dependency mechanism.

“Without smartphone would not be able to live, it would anxiety” to describe this phenomenon has been coined a name, NOMOPHOBIA, i.e. by Disconnection Syndrome.

When did technology begin to change for the better our lives?

It was 1925 when the Scottish engineer John Logie Baird made from television history, only a few years later exactly in 1928, American inventor and entrepreneur Martin Cooper made the first mobile phone, even in 1941 during the Second World War, was born the first computer in history, thanks to an engineer German with the hobby of painting. Since that time progress in the electronic and computer science, he has made great strides.

With the expression ‘third industrial revolution’ not only indicates a socio-economic transformation process, but also a revolution in technology, in mass communication and information technology. In particular, we can certainly not negate the benefits of the invention of the mobile phone: for those who were accustomed to the classic coin-operated telephone booths first and then to the card, or the first cordless, mobile phone has been a real revolution, like the first bulb or the first wheel.

Smartphones that passion

People have finally stopped going in search of a pay phone to call their friends, family or to make well-known prank phone calls. The phone comfort is precisely the availability of the person, we can be contacted wherever we are and through a call via a short message and this have made communication much easier.

Furthermore, the technology encourages us to change, to always be updated and in continuous connection with one another. But when it becomes too much and the connection becomes the distance instead of closeness? When we no longer speakeasy to use, but a real addiction and, indeed, of NOMOPHOBIA?

In recent year’s scholars from different research groups in various parts of the world, they are increasingly interested in the relationship between people and mobile phones, and other connection and tools such as Tablet PCs. Although the technology allows us to attend to our work more quickly and efficiently, to keep us informed in real time about what happens in the world and to be able to contact anyone at any time, we must not forget that mobile devices may have an effect dangerous to health, especially if used inappropriately.

NOMOPHOBIA: Description of the phenomenon

In an interview conducted in April 2015 was asked a group of people, of different ages, if would be able to live without their smartphones: the response was almost unanimous: “no smartphone would not be able to live, it would be the anxiety.” To describe this phenomenon has been coined a name, NOMOPHOBIA (Disconnection Syndrome), and is composed of the Anglo-Saxon prefix abbreviated no-Mobile and the suffix phobia and refers to the fear of being out of mobile contact.

A feeling of panic attacks you as soon as you realize you have forgotten your smartphone at home? You cannot resist more than ten minutes without checking notifications and think is ringing even when it is not so? If you answered yes to at least two out of three applications, then you may have developed a true addiction from your smartphone.

In person NOMOPHOBIA has established the feeling of being lost anything if you do not constantly monitor the phone and the risk is that it triggers a dependency mechanism, very similar to a drug addiction.

When you enter the vicious circle of NOMOPHOBIA, you always need to increase the dosage then you put in place a wide range of dysfunctional behaviors such as spend more time on the phone, wait for the response of the other (perhaps urging), see what happens to friends on various social networks, comment and share, never turn off the device even at night, wake up at night and make sure that nothing has changed, move the smartphone in inappropriate places (e.g. bathroom, church etc.), exactly as it happens with drugs and alcohol.

The NOMOPHOBIA: A look at research

According to David Greenfield professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, the attachment to the smartphone is very similar to all the other dependencies as it causes interference in the production of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward circuit: in other words, encourages people to engage in activities that they believe will give you pleasure. So whenever we see pop up a notification on your phone salt dopamine levels, because we think that there is in Serbia for us something new and interesting. The problem is that we cannot know in advance if it will happen really something beautiful, so you have the urge to continually monitor triggering the same mechanism that is activated in a gambler.

According to a survey conducted in 2008 by the British research by YouGov on behalf of Post Office Telecom on a sample of 2,163 people, from which it was later coined the name of the syndrome, more than six out of ten young people between 18 and 29 years are to bed on the phone and more than half of mobile phone users the company (almost 53%) tends to manifest anxiety when it runs out of battery or credit, or no network coverage or no cell phone. The research also shows that men tend to be more anxious women and that about 58% of men and 48% of the population of women suffer from this new phobia.

In 2009 in India was conducted a search by the Department of Community Medicine and was discovered this new form of the syndrome, but with lower rates, about 18% of subjects, and there are no reported differences with respect to gender.

According to another American study by Morningside Recovery, a Newport Beach mental rehabilitation center has shown that millions of Americans, approximately 2/3 of the population are suffering from NOMOPHOBIA and that many of them reach higher states of uncontrolled shaking if they learn not to own their own mobile phone.

The NOMOPHOBIA would be characterized by “anxiety, discomfort, nervousness and anxiety caused by being out of contact with a cell phone or a computer” and would be used as a protective shell or a shield and as a means to avoid social communication.

NOMOPHOBIA: How to recognize the syndrome

The researchers describe some alarm bells for you to recognize if you are falling in this syndrome:

  • Regularly use the phone and spend a lot of time on it;
  • Having one or more devices;
  • Always carry a charger with them to prevent the phone from draining;
  • Feeling anxious and nervous at the thought of losing your laptop or when the phone is not available nearby or is not found or cannot be used due to the lack of field, because the battery is depleted and / or there is lack of credit, or when trying to avoid as far as possible, the places and situations where it is forbidden to use the device (such as public transportation, restaurants, theaters, and airports);
  • Always keep the credit;
  • Give family and friends an alternative contact number, and always bringing with them a prepaid calling card to make emergency calls if your phone is broken or lost, or even if it is stolen;
  • Look at the phone screen to see if messages or calls were received. In this case, we speak of a particular disorder defined ringxiety, putting together the word “ring” and the word anxiety.
  • Constant monitoring of the device’s battery level to make sure you cannot download to any important operations;
  • Keep your cell phone always on (24 hours);
  • Sleeping in bed with phone or tablet;
  • Use your smartphone in irrelevant places.

The researchers recommend avoiding considering all the above behaviors as pathological.

So we can talk about NOMOPHOBIA when a person experiences a disproportionate fear of being left out of the mobile network contact, to the point of experiencing side effects similar physical panic attack such as shortness of breath, dizziness, tremors, sweating, fast heartbeat, chest pain, nausea.

The NOMOPHOBIA as addiction

Despite the name appear the initials “phobia” and the symptoms are very similar to those of anxiety, a study conducted by researchers of Panic and Respiration Laboratory, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (2010) seems to indicate that the NOMOPHOBIA both to consider an addiction rather than an anxiety disorder.

Researchers would indeed experience that a therapeutic approach to reducing anxiety is not effective in the treatment of NOMOPHOBIA, but that people suffering from this type of psychopathology respond better to a specific treatment for addictions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) describes addiction as:

That psychic and sometimes also physical condition, caused by the interaction between a person and a toxic substance, which involves behavioral responses and other reactions, and that determines a compulsive need to take the drug on a continuous or periodical way, in order to prove the its psychic effects, and sometimes to avoid the discomfort of its deprivation .

The new dependencies, or addictions without substance, relate to a wide range of dysfunctional and abnormal behaviors such as pathological gambling, addiction to TV, the internet, compulsive shopping, addictions from sex and relationships, the dependencies from work and some deviations in behavior.

The Davis scholar RA (1999) used a cognitive-behavioral model to explain the development and maintenance of a disorder connected to NOMOPHOBIA, Disorder abuse of the electronic network or the Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). According to this approach, the IAD comes from maladaptive cognitions linked to behaviors that enhance or maintain a maladaptive response. The key factor is the reinforcement that the individual receives from the event. If the reinforcement is positive, the person will be conditioned to perform more frequently in the same activities in order to achieve a similar physiological response.

As in any process of conditioning, stimuli associated with the primary stimulus become secondary re-enforces and act by reinforcing the pathology. If you shift the NOMOPHOBIA within the addictions, the ODL token, then the treatment should be the one currently used to it.

The treatment of new branches is currently being taken on the basis of clinical and psychopathological features similar to obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders and impulse control, to substance use disorders and mood disorders, especially those pertaining to the bipolar spectrum. The dependence on new technologies is definitely growing, but unfortunately, it is often confused with different psychopathological situations.

NOMOPHOBIA Danger: Who are at risk?

Other relevant studies investigating the NOMOPHOBIA have been carried out by Francisca Lopez Torrecillas, a lecturer in the department of personality and psychological assessment and treatment of addictions at the University of Granada, which has carried out a field of research with young adults between 18 and 25 years and found that most of those affected by this condition would be young adults with low self-esteem and problems in social relationships, who feel the need to be constantly connected and in touch with others through the mobile phone and that usually show boredom when you are doing other recreational activities derived from a pathological use of mobile phones.

Teenagers appear subjects mainly at risk of developing this new form of addiction, but we must not underestimate the impact that technology can have on the younger generation. More and more parents worried because their children, even in childhood, spend more time with computers, smartphones, tablets and electronic games.

Are so-called digital kids, a term coined to indicate the generation of children grew up in the era of computers, including smartphones, tablets, ADSL and mobile Internet, touch screen and apps.

A small, but significant research of 2012, commissioned by AVG, the famous software house that produces antivirus and other programs for computer security, has revealed that over 50% of children between 2 and 5 years of age, knows already like playing a game to the grassroots level tablet, while only 11% of them know how to tie his shoes.

The danger is not so much for the early use of these devices, which can also be used as a ‘weapon to develop the cognitive abilities of the child, but rather the prolonged use of smartphones and tablets that could lead to excessive strain and the risk that the child is psychologically creandosi isolate a parallel world populated only by no real characters, thus losing contact and interest in things around him.

There are currently no researchers that may consider this precocity of using a predictor of future NOMOPHOBIA because the syndrome is new and still little studied, but this does not mean that a link might be possible or create a fragility factor.

The risk linked to the use of smartphones at an early age is not only to be able to abuse and thus be subject to a possible addiction to smartphones or NOMOPHOBIA, but also to use the phone so inadequate and inconsistent with the age of the child / teenager; This is the case of sexting, term that derives from the words sex (gender) and texting (text published).

You can define sexting sending and / or receive and / or sharing of text, video or sexually explicit images / inherent sexuality. They are often made with the phone, through which are spread with messages or e-mails and chat sites. Sometimes the exchange of these images deemed pornographic are sent by minors, at times known to people, but sometimes even to strangers in exchange for money or refills. Often these images or videos, even if sent to a narrow circle of people, spread uncontrollably and may create serious problems, both personal and legal, the person portrayed.

There are rare cases in the news they see children involved who have experienced bullying or other forms of discrimination due to this kind of conversation. Sending photos depicting minors under the age of 18 years and sexually explicit poses constitutes in fact, the distribution of child pornography offenses.

An intelligent use of smartphones to counter the risk NOMOPHOBIA

The phone when used appropriately and intelligently can fulfill three important psychological functions: regulates the distance in communication and relations, it manages the loneliness and isolation almost taking on the role of media antidepressant and allows you to live and dominate the reality giving the idea of being able to be present and able to stop the flow of time with one or more shots.

But we must keep in mind that the relationship with the mobile phone is potentially dangerous for any person. And ‘why the prevention of this form of addiction is crucial because action on it at its most acute form.

There exists the possibility that, in a period of our life, or in a particularly difficult period of our existence, the smartphone becomes an object on which to channel state of discomfort (emotional, relational, work …) and most important purchases of real life.

The misuse and abuse of the mobile phone could cause not only huge differences between people but also bring them to NOMOPHOBIA: to turn in on themselves, develop interpersonal insecurities or food fear of rejection, to feel inadequate and in need of support even if outside and an end in itself.

Therefore, it is important to educate car to a balanced relationship with the phone, allowing himself occasionally some break from his comforting and reassuring presence, remembering that maybe a really lived life is more rewarding than a life only imagined.