Nomophobia: A Panic Attack Right After Mobile Phone Switching Off

August 21, 2017

A smartphone separation anxiety called Nomophobia is the feeling of discomfort or anxiety caused due to non-availability or switching off of a mobile device for habitual virtual communication.
If you tend to have such a panic attack immediately if your phone runs out of battery or isn’t beside you even for a while? Beware, you may develop ‘nomophobia’ that can cause increase in heart rate, anxiety, blood pressure, and unpleasant feelings, researchers warned.
‘Nomophobia’ or in other words smartphone separation anxiety is the feeling of discomfort or anxiety caused by the non-availability of a mobile device enabling habitual virtual communication. The findings showed that personal memories evoked by smartphones encourage users to extend their identity onto their devices.
“When users perceive smartphones as their extended selves, they are more likely to get attached to the devices, which, in turn, leads to nomophobia by heightening the phone proximity-seeking tendency,” said Seunghee Han, doctoral student at the Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul. Although smartphones have indeed positively influenced various aspects of life, the technology has also had negative effects such as overuse, dependence, and addiction.
As a result separation from smartphones is found to cause increases in heart rate, anxiety, blood pressure, and unpleasant feelings, the study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, revealed. For the study, the team developed a model that identified a link between factors such as personal memories and user’s greater attachment to their smartphones, leading to nomophobia and a tendency to phone proximity-seeking behaviours.
Nomophobia may serve as an indicator of a social disorder or phobia for individuals with a strong dependency on communication through virtual environments, research suggested. “Nomophobia, fear of missing out (FoMo), and fear of being offline (FoBo) – all anxieties born of our new high-tech lifestyles–may be treated similarly to other more traditional phobias,” said Brenda K. Wiederhold, from Interactive Media Institute, California.

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