Is smartphone addiction even real?

Yes, so much so that researchers announced in February 2013 that a Smartphone Addiction Scale (SAS) has been developed so doctors can diagnose it in patients. It is part of the recent trend of technology-driven psychoses, such as Internet addiction or electronic gaming addiction. It has a name, coined in a 2008 survey: nomophobia (nomobile-phone phobia). With the SAS as a starting point, and realizing you should consult your own doctor if you think you may be addicted, here’s what to watch for:

10. Daily life disturbance

Have you missed planned work? Are you having a hard time concentrating while working or while in class? Are your grades or work performance dropping? Physical symptoms include lightheadedness, blurred vision, pain in your neck and wrists, and disrupted sleep.

9. Positive anticipation

  • Do you use your smartphone to relieve stress?
  • Does just the idea of using your smartphone make you excited?
  • Do you view your smartphone as a friend that offers fun, relieves anxiety and provides safety?

8. Withdrawal

Imagine someone removes your smartphone from your hands. Do you think you would become impatient and irritated? Must you have your smartphone with you even if you’re not using it? Do people annoy you when they interrupt you when you’re using it, as if they’ve intruded on a special moment?

7. Cyberspace-oriented relationship

  • How many times a day do you check your smartphone?
  • Do you feel closer to friends you gained through a smartphone than friends you gained from first-hand experience?
  • When you can’t use your smartphone (in the movies, or at religious services for example) do you feel a sense of loss?

6. Overuse

Which would you rather do – use your smartphone to find an answer or turn to a real person for help? As soon as you put your phone down, do you feel compelled to pick it up again? Try to track yourself.

5. Tolerance

  • Do you tell yourself you can quit using your smartphone at any time, you just don’t see a need to quit right now?
  • Have you consciously tried to put it down for a set time and failed?
  • Has someone challenged you to go without your smartphone, and you simply can’t win that bet?

4. Phantom vibration syndrome

Yep. It isn’t just you. Other people feel compelled to check their smartphones because they are certain the phones are vibrating in joyous celebration of an important message. Quick – take a look! No, that was a false alarm! Again! It’s also a sign that you are anxious, anticipating another opportunity to be one with the technology. And it’s probably a sign that you’re addicted.

3. Smartphone anytime, anywhere

You find yourself using your smartphone in dangerous or socially unacceptable public situations.

  • Obliviously stepping out into traffic because you are staring at a smartphone screen
  • Texting while driving
  • Do you get upset at someone who asks you to put away your device?
  • You take it into the shower?
  • You use it while checking out at a cash register
  • It’s out while you’re simultaneously conversing with real people

2. You, me and my smartphone

Taking your smartphone into the bedroom apparently now seems to feel right to some people. If you are sharing intimate moments with a real person and your smartphone, you most likely have a problem. Unless you have an extremely understanding partner, texting during sex may also mean you have a relationship-ending problem.

1. You’re where???

Ahem. Our society still respects some private moments. No smartphone, dumb phone, or telephone of any kind in the bathroom. Can’t wait? Talk to your doctor.

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