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Nomophobia is the extreme, often illogical, fear of not having mobile or cellular telephone contact. In fact, the name "nomophobia" is derived from the first two letters of the words "no" and the word "mobile" plus the word "phobia." This phobia, although relatively new compared to other phobias, is reported to affect millions of people across the globe.
Some people may wonder whether they have nomophobia. People affected by the phobia can have any number of symptoms. Generally, the symptoms are based on an individual's ability or inability to use a cell phone. For example, a person might try to keep her cell phone switched on at all times, regardless of what other activity in which she may be engaged. She might feel that keeping her phone on the vibrate mode is acceptable in areas of silence, such as inside a church or a library.
Sometimes a person who is affected by nomophobia will have physical or emotional symptoms as well. For example, one may feel stressful or anxious if she can't use her mobile phone. She may even suffer from a panic attack, which can cause tightness in the chest, rapid breathing, and lightheadedness. The symptoms typically appear when the cellular phone user is forced to turn off her phone or when she loses cellular coverage. Often, the person will fret over the endless possibilities of what harm may occur to her or her loved ones while she's out of contact.
There are some ways to treat the symptoms of nomophobia. Generally, many of the treatment methods are geared toward give the person with nomophobia more peace of mind. Few treatment methods are geared to treat the actual phobia.
In some cases, treatment involves figuring out other steps that can be taken if cellular phone or mobile phone contact is lost. For example, it may be recommended to carry a calling card that can be used at a pay phone. In addition, the person might find it helpful to give friends and family a list of contact phone numbers, such as phone numbers for work, hotels during vacations, or even restaurants for dinners out. As a result, the person may feel greater peace of mind knowing that she can be contacted if she is needed while at her destination.
Occasionally, in the most severe cases, a person with nomophobia might seek therapy. A therapist can set up a plan to wean a person away from her need for constant cell phone contact. She may also give the affected individual pointers to prevent excessive reliance on a cell phone in daily life.