In understanding phobias by their simple definition of a disproportionate distress response to a stimulus, alluded to the high number of situations and objects that we encounter every day that could be a fearful trigger for others. Common phobias include; claustrophobia, the fear of small enclosed spaces; arachnophobia, the fear of spiders and acrophobia, the fear of falling. These all present as reasonable things to be feared of yet there are phobias that appear to be less rational, an example being tropophobia, the dear of clusters of small holes.
An interesting phobia that has relatively recently emerged is that of nomophobia. This can best be described as the fear discomfort and distress caused by not having immediate access to a device when it is required, which has been summarised as the fear of being disconnected from the digital world (Al-Balhan et al., 2018). It is indisputable that the use of technology has been integrated into our everyday lives making technology almost inescapable. The accessible nature of technology and the ease to which it can be used has made devices like mobile phones merely an extension of our bodies with an increasing amount of time being spent on them (Bartwal and Nath, 2019; Park and Kaye, 2019) Whilst the benefits of this have become acknowledged in providing a source of comfort and having the ability to be provided with almost immediate information. Technological advances have dramatically improved organisations and arguably most importantly health care. Moreover, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it could be suggested that as a society, we have become even more reliant on technology and our phones due to being our only source of contact to some people.
Nonetheless, conflicting arguments have arisen so much so that nomophobia is being considered a public health problem due to the reliance and dependence that has developed on mobile phones. This dependence introduces problems such as loneliness and self-esteem when we are without them, indicative of more severe adverse effects such as mental health conditions such as anxiety disorders and depression (Yildrim et al., 2016). Its main dimensions have been outlined as the fear and nervousness of not being able to communicate with people, the fear of not being able to connect, the fear of not being able to have immediate access to information and the fear of renunciation of the comfort it provides (Ali et al., 2017). This research is evidently still within its early stages, with the extent to which nomophobia could have remained unknown thus is indicative of the monitoring of this in order to establish the long-term effects this may have (Correr and Bijos, 2017).
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