Nomophobia: The Fear of Being Without Your Smartphone


Dr. Sylvia Hart Frejd


A recent study revealed a new disorder called “Nomophobia” which is the fear of being without your Smartphone and today affects 40% of the population. Aside from sleep and sex, the urge to log into social networking sites is stronger than any other, including drugs and alcohol. The study found that while a compulsion for logging onto Facebook appears to be less physically harmful than, say cigarettes or alcohol, it still becomes an addiction that “steals” many people’s time.


Let’s be honest most of us are fixated and emotionally connected to our phones. If I’m honest with you today I am constantly struggling the urge to check my phone, to fight the addiction to be constantly connected. Our phones have become extensions of ourselves, they are often the first things we reach for when we wake up, and many are putting more time and attention into their phones than they invest in face-to-face relationships. The average Smartphone user checks their phone 150 times a day.


Go ahead and take the Nomophobia test below and see where you score.


nomo pic


So how did you do? Does the thought of being without your phone send you into a state of complete panic? As one woman remarked, “When leaving my phone at a restaurant and having to live 12 hours without it sends me to the brink… there’s a problem.”  Many people also experience what I call PPVD, which is short for Phantom Phone Vibration Disorder. A man shared with me that he went to work without his Smartphone and all that day he would reach for his phone believing it was vibrating, only to find that there was no phone there! It is apparent we all need to practice some digital wellness and detox from our digital gadgets from time to time.


Practicing digital wellness is about redeeming our real life and relationships. One of the first things I assess with all my clients is their real life support system. Do they have people in their life that they can have face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice connections on a daily basis? If not I make that their top priority. We all must continue to work hard to put our technology in its place. We have to ask ourselves do we really want to live in a world where we all stare at screens all day?  

7 Challenges To Break Our Smartphone Dependence.


1.     Use an alarm and keep your phone out of your bedroom.

2.     Get 8 hours sleep a night.

3.     Read a paper book.

4.     Remind yourself the email, text, or post is not urgent.

5.     Stop multitasking.

6.     Get out in nature.

7.     Put your phone away at dinner, movies and when out with friends.


For thousands of years, we have functioned by having intimate conversations with each other were we laughed, told stories, and connected face to face. Let’s take back our real life and relationships and practice some good old fashioned, non-tech face time.