Addiction and Recovery expert, Dr. Elizabeth Waterman, Psy.D, from Morningside Recovery Center in California is an expert on “Nomophobia” – the fear of being without mobile technology. Dr. Waterman treats a variety of addict patients every day and has seen a deep increase in her “Nomophobe” patients.
We use cell phones every day, but for a growing number of people staying connected has become an obsession that occupies every waking minute – and for them, an utter fear and anxiety runs through their veins when they lose their cell, run out of battery, have no network coverage, or simply imagine living life without a mobile device. Studies show that two-thirds of the population suffers from “Nomophobia” (“no-mobile-phone-phobia”) which is defined as the fear of losing or being without your mobile phone. As new mobile devices and technology hit the market, Nomophobia is increasing, and actually up 13% from just a couple of years ago.
Here are 4 tips from Dr. Waterman on what you can do is you suspect you are a nomophobe:
1. Commit to turning off your phone or putting it away out of sight for a certain amount of time each day. For example, while at the gym, during dinner or family time, and try not to check your phone for an hour prior to bedtime so that your mind can enter into a relaxed state before you fall asleep.
2. Use healthy coping skills to manage the anxiety and fear that arises when your phone is not available to you. For example, practice diaphragmatic breathing, mindful meditation or mindful observation skills, distract yourself with pleasant activities such as listening to music, eating your favorite food, or talking to a friend or family member
3. Identify any irrational thoughts that are driving your fear or anxiety about not having your phone. Challenge those irrational thoughts by looking at the evidence that disproves the thought and evidence that support the thought. In most instances, there is more evidence to disprove the thought, this making it an irrational belief. Try to create a more realistic thought to replace the old irrational thought.
4. Track the number of times you check your phone on a daily basis. Keep in mind that most people check their phones around 34 times per day. If the number is much higher than 34, try to decrease the number of times you check it each day. For example, try to check your phone only once or twice an hour.
Elizabeth began her work in the recovery field in 2008 and has held positions as a clinician in residential treatment centers, mental health clinics, and private practice. She has extensive experience in conducting psychological evaluations and disability determination evaluations for children, adolescents, and adults. Her areas of professional specialties include addiction, personality disorders, and mood and anxiety disorders. She enjoys working with clients from a variety of evidenced-based treatment approaches and is currently in the process of completing an intensive training program in Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Elizabeth is dedicated to providing superior therapeutic services to clients and their families, as well as educating the public about mental illness and chemical dependency.
Elizabeth graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology (Psy.D.) from the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Orange County and is currently a licensed Psychologist in the state of California.