The truth is that we as a society are addicted to our smartphones. Glance around the waiting room at the doctor’s office, and you will see almost everyone, young and old alike, on their cell phone in some fashion. While a smartphone is a wonderfully handy device, did you know that people are now seeking rehab for smartphone addiction? According to Shape.com, the fear of being without your mobile device is called “nomophobia,” and it is actually being treated by professionals.
Addiction seems like a strong word to describe something so harmless. As the Social Media Examiner, the word “nomophobic” is certainly not how I would have described myself. Until I spent the day without my cell phone or tablet, the reality of the dependency had never been so glaring.
Pulling out of the driveway, I reached into my purse for my smartphone to place it in an easy-to-reach place while I was driving, which I always do. I realized immediately it was gone. Rushing to meet one of my grown children at the doctors for an important appointment, I had no time to turn around and get the phone. That is how I found myself lost in “Totally Out-of-Touch Tuesday.”
During the drive to the doctor’s office, I kept imagining scenario after scenario where I would need to make a phone call. I realized that I didn’t even know some of the family phone numbers, including the new house phone, because they were just punched into my phone. “Do they even have payphones anymore? Do I even have a quarter?”
My gas tank was sitting near empty. Taking a chance without a cell phone seemed a great deal riskier than usual. And, I couldn’t let my daughter know I was running late. While sitting in the waiting room, I realized my husband would call on his lunch hour, and he would be concerned about where I was, as well.
To pass the time, I decided I would check my Facebook auctions….no, I couldn’t do that either. I couldn’t discuss with anyone how anxious I was about some results we awaited. I thought of all the good friends whose reassurance I could not seek. So, I sat quietly and watched the other people checking their phones. Wow, that was different.
After my daughter came out with very good test results, I realized I couldn’t let anyone know the good news. Before my daughter and I parted ways, she agreed to let my husband and son know that I had forgotten my phone so they wouldn’t worry. I went on to the places I needed to go in the city before returning home. I actually thought about stopping somewhere and purchasing a cheap pre-paid phone to use while I finished my errands.
I could not wait to get home and get my hands on my Smartphone. I wondered if I could have laid it on top of the car and driven off with it on there. Fortunately, it was there in the bathroom floor with messages from my kids threatening to call the police if I didn’t answer. (Payback is a cruel thing!)
Psycheguides.com reports that there are not yet any FDA-approved medications for smartphone addiction nor is it listed in the DSM-5. (There has been some success using antidepressants to treat internet addiction.) There are some self-help therapies, downloadable apps and even therapy groups where nomophobia is addressed. Let me look that up on my phone….