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Are Cell Phones Damaging Brains?

A new study in the United Kingdom found that 66 percent of cell phone users have developed a technologically advanced medical condition called Nomophobia. (1)  Nomophobia is an intense fear of losing or becoming disconnected from being able to use one’s cell phone.  Unfortunately this cultural trend is real and an example of how ridiculous the system has become.     

The condition is exacerbated when an individual runs out of battery life or is in an area of no network.  Cultural trends place the cell phone at the center of the dining experience, relationship building and even wedding vows.  The cell phone has become a status symbol and been touted a necessity to check email, take pictures, play games, listen to music and even locate where you are driving in your car.  If you are questioning whether you have Nomophobia, the diagnosis is as easy as five questions:
-If your cell phone is not on you, do you feel anxious or disturbed?
-Do you bring your cell phone charger every place you go “just in case”.
-Do you sleep with your phone?
-If you have any “down” time, do you choose your cell phone first?
-Do you have a panic attack from a dead battery?

77 percent of people between the ages 18-24 have been found to be Nomophobic.  The people ages 25-34 followed closely with a 68% diagnosis rate.  Another study found that people check their cell phone on an average of 34 times per day.  49 percent stated that they would not feel comfortable with their significant other going through their text messages.
A similar poll found that 75 percent used their phone while in the bathroom and would not consider going without it.   Cell phone use among children is at an all-time high.  It has been stated that 35 percent of U.S. children ages 10-11 have cell phones. (2)
Hail to the Cure!
Nomophobes can be treated with exposure therapy.  The first step in this therapy is imagining yourself without your phone followed by small increments of time away from it. (3)   Medication and professional help is now available for Nomophobia.  The signs and symptoms of severe Nomophobia include the following:

Panic Attacks                      Dizziness

Shortness of Breath           Sweating

Increased Heart Rate        Chest Pain

Nausea                               Trembling or Shaking


Social media, high speed internet, laptops, and smart phones have the ability to connect us to the world but disconnect us from our faith, family, jobs and social interactions.  This growing epidemic will disconnect us from what really matters and invites complete strangers into the bedrooms of our children.
Viral & Contagious Text Messages

The health implications are great.  Cell phones may be more addictive than drugs.  They control the thoughts, emotions and actions to ensure the next text message fix.  10 year olds that once loved laughing and playing outside are socially challenged, depressed, fat and taking medications such as antibiotics, insulin and Ritalin.  The persistent vegetative state, poor motor function, totally unresponsive, eyes rolling back groans will allow teens to slip into bed with drugs and Facebook.
The medical fraternities really think a medication is the solution to this growing concern.  Pharmaceutical companies develop a diagnosis such as Nomophobia and conveniently present pharmaceutical cures.  The causes of the behaviors remain, dysfunctional relationships develop, conditions advance, and all while we are force fed the necessity of medications. 

Take a step back and identify what is important to you and your family.  If you or your child is more willing to give up a toothbrush for a week versus a cell phone, there is a problem.  Technology is supposed to make life easier, not lazier and sicker.  Re-commit to limiting technology, improving nutrition, begin exercising, reducing stress and engaging in healthy, meaningful relationships.  

Dr. Cory Couillard is an international healthcare speaker and columnist for numerous newspapers, magazines, websites and publications throughout the world. He works in collaboration with the World Health Organization's goals of disease prevention and global healthcare education. Views do not necessarily reflect endorsement.

Email: drcorycouillard@gmail.com
Facebook: Dr Cory Couillard
Twitter: DrCoryCouillard

(1) http://blog.securenvoy.com/2012/02/16/66-of-the-population-suffer-from-nomophobia-the-fear-of-being-without-their-phone/
(2) http://articles.businessinsider.com/2010-01-19/tech/30037917_1_cellphones-mobile-phones-content
(3) http://www.allaboutcounseling.com/library/nomophobia/

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