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The human race has seen endless inventions that have made huge impact on the world. The list ranges from lifesaving medicines to adhesive tapes, from medical devices to artificial organs. Modern day inventions like the personal computer and the smartphone were meant to make our lives easier and convenient. The bulky tabletop telephone gave way to pocket-size phones, allowing us to communicate with people across the world with just the touch of a button.
However, the resourcefulness of the smartphone has resulted in human dependency on the equipment to an extent that it has attracted the attention of mental health specialists, linking the smartphone dependency to multiple mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety. The scale of the effect is such that the term “nomophobia” was coined to denote no-mobile-phone-phobia, a behavioral disorder arising out of the fear of being away from the phone.
On the other hand, at a more personal level, the smartphone dependency has given birth to “phubbing” (fusion of phone and snubbing), where excessive use of the cell phone in the presence of one’s partner causes distraction and is affecting the relationship. As one of the studies depict, it is increasingly affecting the personal well-being and causing depression due to lack of satisfaction and more worry and stress caused in daily life.
Marital discord ups risk of anxiety, depression
It is ironic that a tool that is meant to improve communication is becoming a hindrance to healthy communication between two people. According to a one-of-its-kind study by researchers of Baylor University, which got published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior in July 2015, “Pphubbing’s impact on relationship satisfaction is mediated by conflict over cell phone use,” resulting in romantic relationship dissatisfaction. The researchers studied 145 adults through a highly reliable nine-item scale to measure Pphubbing. The questions ranged from how much a partner used smartphone when the couple was out, how satisfied a partner was in the current relationship and if they were depressed.
The study revealed that partners with attachment anxiety (fear of being accepted and/or abandoned by one’s partner) reported higher cell phone conflict resulting in marital discord and low quality of life. The researchers believe that this could also have a domino effect as constant fighting and less satisfaction and happiness are strong indicators of onset of depression. The results also showed that 46.3 percent of the participants were phubbed by their partner, 22.6 percent experienced conflict in their relationships and 36.6 percent felt depressed. Only 32 percent admitted being greatly satisfied within their relationship. Past research has also shown how marital discord increases depressive episodes.
The study provides conclusive evidence of how phubbing affects the partner when neglected and ignored at the cost of a device. There is a greater risk of stress and depression in absence of love and care.
Symptoms of smartphone addiction
It may be difficult to identify symptoms associated with smartphone obsession as using one’s smartphone is a common function in modern times. However, the scale at which overly dependent users prioritize technology over emotions raises a concern, especially in the case of a romantic relationship.
Following are some of the ways one can identify the symptoms of smartphone addiction in a loved one:
· Preferring to use a smartphone rather than spending time with the partner.
· Having an uncontrollable urge to keep checking the phone.
· Getting anxious on not finding the phone anywhere.
· Never leaving the house without the phone.
· Using the phone while driving, even at the risk of causing an accident.
If you or your loved one is showing signs of depression, be it caused by an excessive use of smartphone or other factors, it is advisable that you seek professional help. It is treatable and often requires a combination of medical treatment and support system from professional practitioners.
The 24/7 Mental Health Helpline experts can help you locate the best mental health centers in the U.S. that offer a holistic approach and are equipped with evidence-based treatment plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 653-8178 or chat with our representatives to know more about the finest mental health services in your area.