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Nomophobia : The New – Age Malady

I happen to remember the recent case of a young girl who complained of having severe panic attacks whenever she would be in a place where there is no network coverage on her smartphone. It goes without saying that she had smartphone addiction. I was not surprised a wee bit as such cases and problems have become rampant now. Everyday, there will be at least, 5 – 6 cases of smartphone addiction in my clinics in Kolkata and Bangalore. I do get to see guys who feel restless and uneasy, in case, their cellphones are not working, or there is no network connection. But this was the very first time, that I saw someone who developed such alarming reaction. But I wasn’t surprised at all. Seeing the current state of the world, I have lost the faculty of astonishment.

We need to dig a little deeper into this issue. 

We, human beings are by nature prone to addictions of all sorts and with the coming of the digital technology, especially, the smartphones, there are three interesting, but uncalled – for changes, which are starkly visible. 

First, the smartphone has literally become an ‘extension of our self’, so much so that it has taken a similar place as that of our heart and the brain. Just like, as we cannot function or survive without those organs, similarly, we cannot do without our cell phone tugged into our palm. 

Secondly, smartphones have become absolutely indispensable for our day – to – day survival. Honestly speaking, there are so many activities which are doable with these smartphones that we just cannot manage without it. These dependence is totally abnormal, but we will never admit it ! That’s again an inveterate human nature, but then, if you are sensitive, it can be avoided.

And thirdly, with uncontrolled modernization and social fragmentation, what has happened, is that, we have become totally barren inside and isolated from our own self. As a result, we are becoming more and more, self – alienated. This predicament is a serious one, and is out and out, reflective of an existential crisis of the modern Man, which to my mind, is wrecking havoc, not only in our society but in all human relationships and even in our personal life.

In the wake of such hair – raising developments, we are face – to – face, with an utterly tragic human condition and a threatening social situation, from which, there seems to be no immediate escape, unless we develop sensitivity and good sense to make quick amends not only in our personal life but also inside our society. 

Nomophobia is a strange fear which has sprung up in recent times, in relation to our pathological dependence on smartphones. The panic state which the girl displayed is a tell – tale sign of the absurd degree of dependence we have developed on this ‘witch’ called Smartphone !

Here are my simple suggestions to stay clear from the dangers of smartphone addiction and prevent psychological disasters :

1) Develop self – control, in general.

2) Learn to say ‘No’ to others and yourself too, especially, when you have the urge to reach out for your ‘lovebug’ – smartphone.

3) Cultivate healthy habits and pursuits.

4) Learn to be with yourself…with good books…good music and good people

And, last but not least, 5) Be a strong individual who doesn’t require to be dependent on anything or anyone.

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