Nomophobia - fear of not having phones


Nomophobia definition, it is the fear of not having a phone. In today’s article, we’ll get to know about Nomophobia. Are you afraid of not having your phone near you? Does the thought of not having service or phone trouble you? Does it seem impossible to stay away from your phone?

All our work is entangled with our gadgets. They are a means of information and connection. However, worrying about losing them is normal. Since they hold photos, contacts, and other data. Let’s see in detail about nomophobia definition, causes, and treatment.

Nomophobia definition

Nomophobia definition,  it is the worry of not having your phone. It is nothing but “no mobile phone phobia.” The fear might be severe enough to disrupt daily life. 

           The findings of many research hint that, this phobia is becoming more prevalent. Among the participants of research in 2019, 53 percent of people who owned a phone were worried when they had a dead battery/ no service. Few of the studies show signs of increasing cases among teens.

Nomophobia Symptoms

phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that is distinguished by an unreasonable fear of an object/situation. In this case, the fear is of being without a phone / not having service.

Nomophobia is not a clinical diagnosis. But few symptoms are identified as related to this fear, they are:

  • Unable to turn off your phone
  • Frequently checking for missed messages, emails/calls
  • Taking your phone everywhere, even to the bathroom
  • Fear of being without internet
  • Worrying about negative things and not being able to call for help
  • Stress over being away from one’s online identity
  • Skipping planned events to use the phone

People also experience physical symptoms. These symptoms include breathing faster, rising heart rate, increased sweating, and trembling. Dizziness & weakness can be found too.  In critical situations, these fear symptoms can lead to a panic attack.

Characteristics of Nomophobia

Researches prove the following characteristics, to be found more often amidst people with nomophobia.

  • Not being able to communicate with others
  • Feeling detached
  • Not being able to access information

People with this condition check their phones constantly. They spend many hours a day using their phones. And they feel helpless when they are not having their phones.


Nomophobia’s definition makes it obvious that the cause is certain situations and habits. The specific cause is not found out yet. Nomophobia is a modern phobia. It’s is caused due to increased usage of technology. And anxiety, over what will happen if you can’t get the needed information. 

However, several factors can cause this phobia, they are

  • Fear of isolation – may naturally cause nomophobia. If you contact the people you care about via phone, without it, you might feel lonely. So, to prevent loneliness one might stick closer to their phone.
  • Fear of not being reachable – our phones are near us if we’re waiting for an important message/call. This can become a habit that’s hard to break.
  • Response to distress – Phobias doesn’t always occur due to a negative situation. For instance, if losing your phone in the past caused difficulty for you, you might worry about this happening again.
  • Genetic factors – The risk for developing nomophobia increases if a close family member has a phobia/another type of anxiety.
  • Anxiety – unchecked cases of anxiety also increase the risk of developing a phobia.

Mobile Usage Per Day

A 2014 study concluded that college students spend nine hours per day on their cell phones. Smartphones are both freeing and troubling. People can communicate, gather information, and socialize. But at the same time cell phone use can lead to addiction & is stressful.

Young people were born and brought up in digital technology. And so all these gadgets are an essential part of daily life.


If you notice any signs of nomophobia, talking to a therapist can help.

Continually using/worrying about not having the phone doesn’t mean you have nomophobia. But it’s better to talk to someone if you’ve had symptoms for six months/longer. Especially if these symptoms :

  • occurs often throughout a day
  • disturb your work/relationships
  • make it hard to get enough sleep
  • cause difficulties in your day-to-day activities
  • have a negative effect on health

Since there’s no official diagnosis for nomophobia, trained mental health professionals can recognize signs of phobia & anxiety. And they can help to cope with symptoms.

Nomophobia Treatment

There is no specific treatment for nomophobia. But therapists may recommend exposure therapycognitive-behavioral therapy, or both to treat symptoms. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe medication to help with the anxiety or depression.

Exposure Therapy

This is a behavioral technique in which you’ll learn to gradually face your fears. In the case of nomophobia, you’ll slowly get used to going without your phone. This will start in a small manner (like keeping your phone in another room for some time). And then by increasing the time period away from your phone.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

It’s a process that approaches the negative and unreasonable thoughts that lead to maladaptive behaviors. With your therapist’s help, you learn to identify these and replace them with realistic thoughts.


There’s no licensed medication for the treatment of nomophobia. Your psychiatrist may prescribe anti-anxiety medications/antidepressants to ease your symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Lexapro, Zoloft, and Paxil are used as a treatment for anxiety and depression.

Ways to prevent/come out of nomophobia

If you’re using your phone way too much, these tips might help you control your usage. 

  • Fix limits. Set some rules for your phone use. This might be not using your mobile at certain times of the day. For example, while eating & at bedtime.
  • Find a middle ground. It is easy to call so as to avoid direct contact with others. Try to interact with others daily. You can converse while eating with your friends or family. That’s better than using your mobile to not feel lonely.
  • Take small breaks. It’s tough to break free from the phone habit. But starting little by little does wonders. Start by doing small things. You can leave your phone in another room when you are doing another work.
  • Find other things to do. If the reason you’re using your phone continuously is out of boredom, try looking for other things to distract you. Try reading a book, going for a walk, playing a sport, engaging in a hobby that you enjoy. You can make your outside visit longer by taking the longer route. You can spend some quality time with your loved one. This can be done instead of scrolling through your phone aimlessly.
  • Set a time limit for distracting apps. Many social media apps aren’t user friendly, as they only want us to use their app more. There are options where you can set a reminder to stop using the app. 
  • Open up. Experts stress on opening up to your loved ones a lot. Speaking with them regarding your concerns can help. They might say how they overcome these. And by conveying it to them they can also help you in any way possible.


 Nomophobia is something each of us can experience. Nowadays, we ourselves need help as we are addicted to our phones. And sometimes we ignore people who care about us due to this. It has become normal to avoid people and scroll social media. Not only are we wasting away our time using our phones, someone out there might’ve reached us for help. Only to not receive it. While this starts as a means to keep boredom and loneliness away.

It progresses into depression, self-hate, isolation, etc. Nomophobia can improve with treatment and lifestyle changes. So let us stay vigilant of this serious issue and spend our valuable time wisely.




Subin Joshua
Author: Hi there, my name is Subin Joshua, and I am a Medical student. I grew up in a family of teachers and know that being a social worker is my calling. My passion for helping others has been evident in my involvement in helping the poor and needy for the last three years. Through those experiences, I have learned to interact with a diverse group of people, which has increased my ability to relate to others.