You Probably Have Nomophobia—and Don’t Even Know It

Updated: Oct. 02, 2017

The condition is a separation anxiety of sorts.

You-Probably-Have-NomophobiaIpatov/ShutterstockIf you hate turning your phone off and the sight of a low-battery signal sends you into a cold sweat, you might have nomophobia—or no mobile phobia. You’ll also want to read our 10 secrets to better smartphone battery life.

But it turns out, you’re in good company. A recent study suggests nearly 66 percent of the population depends on their smartphone to keep their psychological wellbeing intact—and in some cases being without the phone can lead to an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. The disorder affects 70 percent of women and 61 percent of men, and one-third of these nomophobes are older than 55.

So who else is at risk? One Hong Kong study found that people who use their phones to store, share, and access personal memories suffer most; the more emotionally connected a person is to the information on their phone, the more attached they are to it.

“The findings of our study suggest that users perceive smartphones as their extended selves and get attached to the devices,” said Dr Kim Ki Joon who worked on the study. “People experience feelings of anxiety and unpleasantness when separated from their phones.”

There are things you can do to help. Professor Mark Griffiths, chartered psychologist and director of the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University, told the Guardian that deliberately separating yourself from your phone by leaving it home or turning it off can begin to reduce dependency.

And because in many cases its the precious memories and information on the phone that people are attached to, we recommend backing it up periodically so you know your correspondence and photos are safe.

Still, you don’t want to be a hoarder. Here are 10 clever ways to clear up storage on your smartphone.