Feeling anxious without your mobile phone? You could be suffering from nomophobia

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  • Some people struggle when they are without their mobile devices for an extended period.
  • This could be a psychological condition known as nomophobia.
  • The symptoms are similar to other conditions.

Just how attached are you to your mobile device? Do you frantically search for a charger to avoid being disconnected from the cyber world? Chances are, you unconsciously have nomophobia!

Described as a psychological condition, - nomophobia which come from 'No Mobile Phone Phobia' - is anxiety caused when one is separated from one's device. 

In recent years smartphone addiction has become a growing concern among adolescents and adults; games, videos and social media as these features have become increasingly enticing with the ability to keep smartphones users scrolling for extended periods.  

However, clinical psychologist, Pam Tudin-Buchalter, describes nomophobia as more than just being 'separated' from one's device and rather the 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.

Tudin-Buchalter was quoted in a press statement issued on behalf of mobile rental power provider Adoozy Power.

Multiple studies suggest that the prevalence of nomophobia was due to a smartphone addiction; however, the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care shows that it's hard to link to smartphone addiction and nomophobia or if the patient had an existing anxiety disorder that's similar as symptoms of nomophobia.  

The study further explains, while this condition may be 'challenging' for the families of patients to understand, the condition is too 'complex' for physicians as well, as the clinical symptoms of nomophobia are similar to those of other disorders. 

Given the current state of the South African power supply and the prevalence of nomophobia, SA is yet to see an increase in 'battery anxiety' as load shedding persists.

Here are a few symptoms to look out for: 

1. Panic

2. Agitation

3. Anxiety

4. Disorientation

5. Tachycardia

Recent power cuts have cut into 'cyber time' as SA load-shedding schedules disrupt 2-2.5 hours of screentime.

For South Africans with nomophobia, here are a few tips on how to beat the 'battery anxiety' from Adoozy Power CEO Keegan Peffer:

Five ways to save your battery life:

1. Download an app that will track load-shedding in your area.

2. Invest in a power bank to ensure you always have battery life.

3. Set your phone brightness to 'auto-brightness' so when you step into a room with bright lighting, you won't use as much power.

4. Manage your background 'app refresh' to disable apps that are consuming too much power.

5. Turn off unnecessary notifications to allow your phone to 'sleep'. 

Many may see this phobia as futile, but some individuals have severe anxiety around being detached from their device; fortunately, there is help.

People affected by nomophobia can improve their anxiety with treatment and lifestyle changes. We encourage anyone struggling to seek professional assistance. 

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