Keep your phone on all the time? It’s called “nomophobia”

It has a name. That dread that keeps you reaching into your pocket ten times an hour. That subtle pat-down you give yourself as you leave the house. The little twitch you do when you hear someone else is getting a text message. It’s called “nomophobia.”

Nomophobia is a word coined about four years ago for people who get extremely anxious when they have poor cell coverage, when their battery is running low, or when they leave their phones at home. In case you’re curious, it’s not a Greek word like most phobias, it’s just short for “no mobile phone phobia.” It affects an increasing number of us and while it’s not recognized as an official ailment — yet — its effects have been described as on par with the fear of going to the dentist or wedding-day jitters.

Are you a nomophobe? Do you take your phone out just because others have theirs out? Do you stop in the middle of a sentence to answer a text? Do you text at the movies? Do you stay to one side of the house because the coverage is better there?

To be sure, smartphones are a pretty new phenomenon and we haven’t really figured out how they’ll affect our society long term, but in the short term it’s pretty clear they’ve turned the world into one beepy, attention-deficit-friendly mess. It’s enough to convince people to drop out, turn off their phones and start living.

But hey, how much fun would that be? If you’re a nomophobe, maybe what you need is a cell booster and a headset. Maybe the best thing to do is find a way to live with your addiction… because going cold turkey could be pretty rough. Face it pal, those mines aren’t going to craft themselves.