What is NOMOPHOBIA
Smartphones are part and parcel of modern life. They have made social and work life easier but with every bit of technology making inroads into our lives there comes a cost. NOMOPHOBIA is a recent psychological condition that can be explained as smartphone addiction. It attracted attention of the mental health experts in the second decade of new millennium when cell-phones were replaced by smartphones. The fear of not having a ‘working’ smartphone has started impacting normal functioning of the individual. It was since the advent and growing use of smartphones that psychologists started studying the impact on psyche of an individual by developing tools.
Today we have widely accepted NMP-Q (nomophobia questionnaire) developed by Caglar Yildirim and Ana-Paula Correia of Iowa State University, Ames, USA in the year 2015 to measure the score and understand if a person is suffering from mild, moderate of severe nomophobia.
According to the researchers smartphone addiction or Nomophobia is considered a modern age phobia introduced to our lives as a byproduct of the interaction between people and mobile information and communication technologies, especially smartphones.
The dependability of NMP-Q
According to the researchers a study was conducted to measure four dimensions of nomophobia: not being able to communicate, losing connectedness, not being able to access information and giving up convenience. The qualitative findings were then developed into a 20-item nomophobia questionnaire (NMP-Q). The NMP-Q was validated with a sample of 301 undergraduate students. The NMP-Q was shown to produce valid and reliable scores; and thus, can be used to assess the severity of nomophobia.
Symptoms of Smartphone addiction: Severe Nomophobia
In review studies evidence exists regarding the impact of excessive use of the smartphone in sleep disturbance, anxiety and depression. Studies show a clear correlation of problematic smartphone use with sleep quality, depression and anxiety, and that excessive use of smartphones can cause changes in gene regulation, headache, auditory and visual disturbances, fatigue, memory loss, problems with concentration, fatigue and weakening of brain tissue.
Other current studies correlate problematic smartphone use not only with rumination, emotion dysregulation, but also behavioral problems and attention deficit. Most of the studies have been conducted after 2015 and still lot of research is going on to understand the impact of smartphone usage among different age groups, gender, educational background and socio-economic strata. The study was conducted by Soraia Gonçalves and Paulo Dias of Catholic Portugese university and Ana-Paula Correia of Iowa university USA on smartphone use and its relationship to psychopathology.
When to draw the line
Growth of smartphone use has negative consequences and problems can occur at the social and interpersonal levels, educational contexts (learning) and health/well-being. With regard to social and interpersonal issues, individuals may have greater difficulties in social coexistence, that is, in their real life, since they are accustomed to speaking virtually and by “emojis”, maintaining a dialogue with another person without holding their smartphone and look directly at the other person while they are talking, or even, they cannot keep a conversation because they do not feel confident enough since they feel more exposed and prefer to interact only virtually. This may prove to be detrimental to interpersonal and peer relationships, as these individuals may isolate themselves, making their interpersonal relationships very limited, conflicting, and less rewarding for people in their surroundings. Other factors could be.
Feeling of anxiety when smartphone is not around
Unexplained emotional outbursts
Unexplained palpitation or headache
How to draw the line
Though scientific scoring methodology can reveal when a person is turning severe Nomophobic, experts suggest technological detoxification by self regulation as one of the keys to stop progression of psychopathology.