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Do You Need Cell Phone Rehab?

Do you think it's possible to have an actual addiction to your cell phone? According to some studies, it's a legitimate behavioral (non-substance) addiction. Psychology Today published a recent article about cell-phone addiction among college students, noting that college-age individuals are among the highest in levels of technology use, and that cell phone addiction is primarily based on an individual's predisposition to impulsive and materialistic tendencies.


The instantaneous nature of text messaging is related to impulsiveness.

The materialistic aspect has to do with the cell phone as a status symbol. For people who have a tendency towards materialism, having a fancy phone conveys to others that they are successful and have disposable income. Psychologically, being constantly on their phone proves to others that they are important people that others desire to be in contact with.

Psychology Today also published an article about how cell phone addiction can cause relationship problems. These issues arise when one partner is constantly on his or her phone, and the other partner feels neglected because of it. Think about the fairly recent AT&T iPhone commercial where the couple are at a romantic dinner and the girlfriend accuses him of sneakily checking the score of some game on his phone. He acts astonished and asks her if she thinks he's some kind of "summoner."

Some variation on this scene has probably happened to most of us. The article offers ways in which to gently communicate concerns to a phone-addicted partner.

Cell phone addiction does not only cause relationship problems, but can also negatively affect individuals in other ways. Being in constant communication with others can actually cause individuals to be socially isolated. When others do not instantly reply to text messages, feelings of social anxiety can be exacerbated in people who are already prone to depression or loneliness. Not having access to a mobile device for prolonged periods can actually cause cell phone withdrawal, and there's actually a technical term for fear of phonelessness - nomophobia.

If you think you may be addicted to your mobile device, try scheduling phone-free periods during your day, in which you are not allowed to be on your phone. Think of these blocks of time as spaces in your day for spending some quiet time to yourself, or actually interacting face-to-face with other humans.


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