LifestylePsychology

What is a Phone-aholic?

Have you been noticing that you are constantly on your mobile phone?

Are you missing out on other things? If Yes, this article is for you to read.

In our society, almost every decade is marked with a new and different pathology. During these past decades, we have seen the increase of drug abuse and uncontrolled sex. For the present decade it is obvious that the new trend is towards the excessive use of mobile phones. This is a very debatable topic which interests most of us. 

According to a recent 2019 survey, the average smartphone user checks his device 47 times a day / 17,155 a year. 

It is a fact that nowadays we are becoming increasingly dependent on our mobile phones. At every place and at any time, you may easily observe how people are heavily absorbed by their mobile phones.

Comfort zone

It could be that you are using your mobile phone as a part of your defence mechanism and it is becoming part of your comfort zone. Many people hide behind the screens nowadays as they feel safer, less judged and more accepted. This goes against the main principle of interpersonal relationships, which is based upon contact. Many people will debate that using mobile phones is a way of connecting to people, of being in contact with others.

This is partially true, as many people use this advantage to be in contact with people who reside far away from them or who they haven’t seen for some time.  However, when people are “in contact” virtually, they are distracted from what is happening around them in the ‘here and now’. Another issue arises when we are using our mobile phones for purely recreational reasons, such as playing games or watching video clips and in doing so, we disconnect from the people around us. Adolescents are not learning how to behave during normal interactions in the ‘real life’.  Only in the ‘here and now’ we can really exchange contact and grow.

Using our phones excessively is affecting our normal functioning which includes and not only limited to relationships, sexual interactions, employment and leisure activities. Many relationships are suffering because of this new addiction. We are becoming distant from each other and in some instances we are also seeking extra marital/partners and get into affairs because nowadays it is becoming increasingly  accessible to do so. Many partners go to therapy claiming that their partner is no longer so affectionate towards them and instead of resolving the issue/s between them, their partner turns to social media. When it comes to sexual interaction, it is becoming easier to find sex over the internet rather than engaging in the real sexual interactions. People are now preferring to watch porn and interacting sexually in a virtual way than risking being rejected by a woman or man in ‘real life’.

We are also witnessing many people who are losing themselves- their interest in other things. People no longer seek to take up a hobby because they are stuck to a screen. 

Employers complain that some of their employees are so absorbed by their phone that they lose concentration at their workplace and thus this affects their work performance. 

Some people also risk losing their job because of this addiction. These people usually also have difficulties in relaxing and in sleeping during the night because of their constant checking of mobile phone. Anxiety is becoming a very common problem nowadays and the excessive use of mobile phone is contributing to it. Some people feel anxious when they cannot access their phone and there are others who end up feeling depressed.Nomophobia – no–mobile-phone-phobia is becoming a real thing!!!

Unfortunately, we are seeing that the new generation of adults have lost all the etiquettes and respect when they are in certain formal contexts because they keep the phones in their hands while disregarding other people who are around them.

How to move away from addiction towards digital wellness:

  • Be more aware of the time you are spending on your mobile phone. 
  • Ask your partner and/or people close to you if they feel that they can connect to you or if they experience you as distant because of the use of mobile phones.
  • If you notice that you are spending excess time and that you are missing out on other things, such as going out, set yourself time limit boundaries. You can also establish screen free zones.
  • Challenge yourself to get out of this comfort zone by doing other things such as walking, reading, cooking, gardening, yoga, mindfulness as well as socialising. 
  • f you see that you cannot do it on your own, seek professional help. Psychotherapy can be very beneficial for you as you will learn how to practice being in the ‘here and now’, as well as understanding your need and process of using heavily the phone. 

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