Most Americans know at least a few individuals who appear to be addicted to their cell phones. Such individuals need to have the phone with them and switched on at all times; they obsessively check for messages even when the phone has given no indication that any texts have come in recently. Some Americans may even be aware that they themselves have fallen into this pattern of behavior. Now, however, the pattern has been given a semi-official name: nomophobia, referring to an intense fear of being caught without a mobile phone.
Sufferers of nomophobia actually have physical reaction when they find themselves without constant access to their phone. They may experience all the typical symptoms of anxiety, including an elevated heart rate and sweaty palms. For some individuals, these problems are actually becoming serious enough to be treated professionally just as any other type of addition can be treated.
Some Americans with nomophobia have already headed into rehab; at least one recovery center in California, a highly prestigious one that usually treats issues of alcohol and drug addiction, is now seeing patients whose addiction centers on their cell phone instead.
Anyone who checks his or her cell phone constantly and feels an unreasonable amount of anxiety when separated from it should consider whether some form of intervention might be warranted.