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Nomophobia - Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on Nov 30, 2022   -  5 min read


Nomophobia, also called no mobile phobia, is a psychological condition resulting from the fear of detachment from mobile phone connectivity.


Phobia means fear, so nomophobia means fear of being without a phone. Nomophobia is an abbreviated form of ‘no mobile phone fear.’ Nomophobia is a modern phobia resulting in physical and behavioral changes in a person stemming from the fear of missing his phone or being detached from the phone. Nomophobia is irrational but has the potential to have detrimental effects on health, quality of life, and mental well-being.

What Is the Reason for Nomophobia?

The increased dependency on modern technology like phones and the internet for everyday use is the main reason for nomophobia. The phone connects the world to us; thus, the detachment gets traumatic to handle.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Nomophobia?

The emotional and physical signs and symptoms characteristic of nomophobia are the following:

  • The inability to turn off the phone.

  • Constantly checking the phone.

  • Fear of the phone getting switched off, losing the phone, and issues with network connectivity.

  • Fear of missing out on social networking sites.

  • Skipping activities or procrastinating activities to spend time on the phone.

  • Taking the phone everywhere a person goes.

  • Avoid social interaction by being on the phone.

  • Compromise on sleep by being on the phone during the sleep hours too.

  • Feeling of missing out on an individual’s online presence.

  • Social anxiety disorder.

The emotional symptoms of fear of not having a phone include:

  • Apprehension.

  • Anxiety.

  • Agitation.

  • Perspiration.

  • Disorientation.

  • Fear.

  • Depression.

  • Panic attack.

  • Feeling helpless without the phone.

  • Feeling disconnected from the world without the phone.

  • Feeling of insecurity.

  • Feeling of being rejected.

  • Low self-esteem.

  • Loneliness.

The physical symptoms of nomophobia include:

  • Tachycardia- increased heart rate.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Nausea.

  • Discomfort.

  • Alterations in blood pressure.

  • Tightness in the chest.

  • Difficulty in breathing.

  • Feeling faint and disoriented.

  • Trembling or shaking.

  • Respiratory alterations.

  • Changes in behavior and mood.

What Causes Nomophobia?

  • Phones have become an integral part of our modern lives. Mobile phones act as means of communication and as well as social network tools, personal organizers, online shopping tools, online trading tools, online banks, zillions of other apps, and the features such as calendars, clocks, notes, calculators, cameras, etc. have become daily essentials.

  • Fear of isolation when the phone is lost or away from a person results in nomophobia as the person is encompassed by feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety, and fear as the person strongly believes that without the phone, worldly contact is lost.

  • Addiction to the mobile phone has become a ubiquitous part of our lives, creating negative feelings and thoughts of being distanced from the phone, as the person feels disconnected from the world without his phone with him.

  • Mobile phone overuse, increased screen time, and dependency on phones for everything are the most common causes of nomophobia.

Who Is Affected by Nomophobia?

Young and old, everyone, irrespective of age and gender, is the victim of nomophobia. The studies show that youngsters between the ages of 18 and 24 top the list of victims of nomophobia with 77 %, followed by the age group between 25 and 35.

How Is Nomophobia Diagnosed?

Worrying about not having the phone and frequently checking the phone are not just signs to diagnose nomophobia. But, consistent worry about not having a phone and feeling lost without the phone for a long time, like for six months or more, can be determined as a sign of diagnosing nomophobia.

What Are the Effects of Nomophobia?

The persistent and frequent symptoms of the fear of not having a mobile phone can:

  • Affect a person’s efficiency at home.

  • Affect his relationships.

  • Results in depression.

  • Continued anxiety may result in sleep issues.

  • It can change a person’s behavior.

  • This can result in depression.

  • It can have a negative impact on health.

  • It can have a negative impact on the quality of life.

What Is the Treatment for Nomophobia?

There is no specific treatment for nomophobia. The health professional can identify the signs and symptoms, such as anxiety, apprehension, panic, depression, agitation, etc., in determining a typical case of nomophobia and providing support and guidance in coping with the symptoms. Counseling also benefits in resolving the emotional and physical symptoms associated with nomophobia.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This helps in learning to deal with negative thoughts and feelings that occur when thinking about not having the phone.

  • Exposure Therapy: This helps in becoming mentally strong and overcoming the fear when one learns to face the fear through gradual exposure to it.

  • Combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy: To address issues of fear of being without a phone.

  • Medication: There is no specific medication for nomophobia, but it acts as supportive therapy to manage the symptoms of nomophobia, such as:

  1. Prescription medication provided by a health professional, like Benzodiazepines or antidepressants in normal dosage and drug schedules, is often the first line of treatment that effectively helps deal with emotional symptoms of nomophobia like anxiety, stress, depression, and panic. It is made clear that the medications given are formulated to treat the symptoms of any phobia in general and not as a specific treatment for nomophobia.

  2. Beta-blockers help deal with physical symptoms of nomophobia, such as difficulty in breathing and rapid heartbeat.

  • Self Care: It is an essential step in coping with nomophobia. The measures to be taken are very simple such as turning off the mobile phone at night, trying to remain detached from the phone, taking some time off the phone, limiting screen time, and having a balanced life without being addicted to any person or thing.


Nomophobia, meaning fear of being without mobile, is a behavioral addiction that results in physical and emotional changes in a person, which negatively impacts his own mental wellness, health, relationships, and quality of life. Nomophobia is the most common growing concern in individuals addicted to technology. Nomophobia can be treated with lifestyle changes and supportive medication. Nomophobia appears as a hazard to our social health, mental health as well as physical health. Thus we have to remain in the real world more than the virtual one. We have to re-form human-human interactions. So, we must restrict our mobile phone usage instead of banning it because we are not able to bypass the force of technological advancement.

Last reviewed at:
30 Nov 2022  -  5 min read




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