I’m always surprised by how many fears have earned the honor of medical nomenclature. Anuptaphobia, fear of staying single, seems a little odd, and same with lutraphobia, fear of otters, and geliophobia, fear of laughter. Surely they’re real—fear is often irrational—but wow.
Then there’s Nomophobia—fear of being without your mobile phone, which isn’t on the Internet’s official “list of phobias,” but was covered by the Los Angeles Times. According to SecurEnvoy, a company that specializes in digital passwords, Nomophobia is “on the rise.”
Here are the symptoms as the Times put it:
Do you feel anxious if your cellphone isn’t nearby?
Does just the thought of losing your phone make your heart pound?
Do you keep an extra phone on hand, just in case your primary phone breaks?
Do you sometimes take it to bed with you?
According to the article if you say yes to any of these, you may have nomophobia.
I’m not so sure. I have two of these symptoms—I get nervous without my phone and I take it to bed with me sometimes—and I’m quite sure that I do not have an anxiety disorder regarding my mobile device. In fact, I would say my fear of electric blankets and internet trolls—both of which are manageable—are far more severe when they come up.
Nomophobia sounds a little like “mobile phone addiction” which supposedly accounts for people who text and tweet during dinner dates or while driving. Surely some people struggle with nomophobia, just as some people have panic attacks when an otter might be near, but being Twitter-happy and willingly rude to one’s companions doesn’t necessarily constitute a medical condition.
What it does constitute, at least most of the time, is being an a-hole, which most of us are guilty of now and then.
I do have a fear of being an a-hole. I don’t know what the Greek root for it is, but I’m happy to say that most of the time my a-hole phobia has more power over me than my various phone related disorders.
[Image via Shutterstock]