Number of nomophobia sufferers keeps growing - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Number of nomophobia sufferers keeps growing

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On this holiday weekend, take a little test. How many times have you pulled out your cell phone or tablet over the past three days? Was it work related? Was it informational? Was it simply your addiction to technology that made you reach for it?

Researchers are worried. They contend people are losing their ability to unplug and just relax.  In fact, a Google survey found that in the United States, 80% of smartphone users never leave home without the device. Five years ago, scientists gave a name to this addiction to a mobile world - nomophobia.

Do you have the symptoms? They include: panic and anxiety when separated from the phone, having multiple phones, compulsive checking of phone for messages, using the phone in inappropriate places, and allowing your phone activity to become an issue in relationships, work, or school.

As you might imagine, the 18-24 age group is considered most nomophobic, at 77 percent. More than one-third, however, of those 55 and older are nomophobic. Just this month the newest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) used by psychiatrists and psychologists was released. For the first time, the manual includes "Internet use disorder."

The situation has become so commonplace that hotels are offering "digital detox" holidays. An individual checks in and turns over phones and tablets. The devices are put in a safe to be reclaimed at checkout. Reportedly, a lot of people ask about the "digital detox" vacation, but there are few takers.

 

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