Do you constantly check your smartphone for notifications or find yourself unable to focus at work or at school without your smartphone?
You are likely to be suffering from nomophobia, an abbreviation for no-mobile-phone phobia.
According to The Telegraph, the clinical term was coined four years ago after the first study in the U.K revealed that 53 per cent of people suffered from the condition which is characterised as "the fear of being out of mobile phone contact". With smartphones becoming an integral part of our lifestyle today, it is no surprise that nomophobia is affecting more people especially the younger generation.
Based on a HuffPost / YouGov survey conducted in September 2013, 64 per cent of smartphone users aged between 18 - 29 years old admitted that they had fallen asleep with a smartphone or tablet in their bed.
Another survey done by Harris Interactive in August last year revealed these startling findings:
- 63 per cent of people check their smartphones at least once an hour.
- 9 per cent of people check their smartphones every five minutes.
- 63 per cent of people would feel upset if they left home without their smartphone.
- When people are without their smartphones, they miss messaging (29 per cent) and calling (26 per cent) most.
- 97 per cent of smartphone owners check their phones frequently while they are with family members and friends.
Dr. David Greenfield, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, who spoke to Business Insider on nomophobia, said that smartphone addiction is similar to other addictions as it involves a dysregulation of dopamine. It is a hormone and neurotransmitter that controls the brain's reward centre. He explained it further in the quote below:
"Every time you get a notification from your phone, there's a little elevation in dopamine that says you might have something that's compelling, whether that's a text message from someone you like, an email, or anything," Greenfield said to Business Insider. "The thing is you don't know what it's going to be or when you're going to get it, and that's what compels the brain to keep checking. It's like the world's smallest slot machine."