Cell Phone Addiction- Everything You Need To Know

August 01, 2019

Addicted to your mobile phone? Read this blog to learn symptoms, physical and psychological effects of cell phone addiction.

At work, at home and at leisure. Whatever the occasion, the smartphone has got us glued to its screen. It is often difficult to tell when this casual browsing turns into an addiction. Before you know it, your hands are reaching out for that latest update on the phone. The cell phones also are constantly being improved by expanding upon their functionalities, which in turn increases the likelihood of overuse and addiction.

But how dangerous is this addiction? What are the symptoms? Is it possible to break out of this cycle? This article attempts to answer some of these questions.

1. What are the signs and symptoms of cell phone addiction?
Although cell phone addiction is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, research has compared it to gambling addiction. At least 4 of the following signs and symptoms are thought to comprise the criteria for cell phone addiction:

A need to use the cell phone more and more often in order to achieve the same desired effect.
Persistent failed attempts to use cell phone less often.
Preoccupation with smartphone use.
To use the cell phone as a distraction when experiencing unwanted feelings such as anxiety or depression.
Excessive use characterized by loss of sense of time.
Putting a relationship or job at risk due to excessive cell phone use.
Need for newest cell phone, more applications, or increased use.
Withdrawal symptoms, when the cell phone or network is unreachable like anger, tension, depression, irritability & restlessness.

2. Are there any physical effects of addiction?
Yes, overuse of your cell phone or smartphone can also result in a number of different physical problems that may cause permanent damage or be difficult to treat, including:

Digital eye strain

The pain and discomfort associated with viewing a digital screen for over 2 hours:

Itching & burning in eyes
Blurred vision
Eye fatigue

Neck problems

Also known as text neck, which refers to neck pain resulting from looking down at cell phone or tablet for too long.

Increased illnesses due to germs

Checkout these facts to understand the magnitude of the problem:

1 in 6 cell phones has faecal matter on it.
E. coli bacteria, which can cause fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, is found on many phones.

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Phones have been found to be contaminated with MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body). This can cause painful abscesses and life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, bloodstream, heart valves, and lungs.

Fatalities like a car accident

Research has revealed that texting and driving can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving. Many people believe that they can multitask and use their phones while driving, but this may cause significant impairment and put the driver and others on the road in danger.

Must read about -Are you a heavy drinker? Here's how alcohol is killing your essential nutrients.

Male infertility

Preliminary studies have revealed that cell phone radiation may decrease sperm count, sperm motility and viability.

3. Are there any psychological effects of cell phone addiction?
A continued pattern of cell phone addiction can have a deep impact and lead to certain disorders. Some of the common disturbances seen in cell phone addicts are:

Sleep disturbances

Cell phone addiction has been linked to an increase in sleep disorders and fatigue in users. Using your cell phone before bed increases the likelihood of insomnia in the following ways:
Light emitted from the cell phone may activate the brain
Bright light may decrease the sleep quality.
Smartphone use could increase the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.

Excessive use of social media doesn't make you feel better every time, it can make you feel worse. Late night phone usage can lead to body clock disturbances & disrupt mental health. Additionally, people already suffering from depression are more prone to this addiction.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

People who cannot wait for a second to reply to a message, cannot keep themselves from answering a call even in the shower or keep checking if there is an unread email in the phone, are suffering from cell phone OCD.

Must read about -OCD: Here's What You Need to Know

Relationship problems

Offline relationships may suffer as a result of neglect in favor of excessive cell phone and social media use.


Research has found that college students who use their cell phones the most are more likely to feel anxious during downtime.

In conclusion, anyone in todays digital age is prone to becoming a cell phone addict. While the technology has opened a new world of information and communication, it shouldnt be at the cost of mental or physical health. If you think you might be suffering through some of the symptoms mentioned above, do reach out for professional help. Yes, the cell phone addiction is real and should not be taken casually!


Article by Ms. Jayashree Sarda (Mphil),
Consultant Psychologist, CallHealth

Have a Question? Consult Ms. Jayashree Sarda Online.

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