Warning signs of nomophobiaWaterman says some of the signs that your nomophobia requires medical attention include:
- High-intensity anxiety or panic over losing your phone.
- Compulsive checking for your phone.
- Using your phone in inappropriate places.
- Missing out on opportunities for face-to-face interaction.
- Become self-aware and monitor the frequency with which you check your phone.
- Commit to putting your phone down and turning it off for a specific amount of time while you focus on other priorities such as your relationships, exercise or meditation.
- If you feel anxious or have an urgent need to check your phone, try using healthy coping skills such as deep breathing, redirecting your attention to the people around you or busying yourself with exercise.
- Ask other people to help you by taking your phone away for specific time periods.
Health insurance coverage for nomophobiaIf you feel that you do have nomophobia and need treatment, will your insurer pay for it? "People don't typically come to us for treatment just because of their addiction to their cellphone," says Waterman. "Usually there's a dual problem such as substance abuse or mental illness coupled with nomophobia. Often nomophobia is part of a generalized anxiety problem. For example, one patient we're working with has post-traumatic stress disorder and a significant fear of losing her phone." Waterman says health insurance companies typically cover treatment for patients with a phobia or anxiety disorder. "Cigna would cover a disorder that's considered a standard accepted diagnosis, based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)," says Julie B. Kessel, M.D., senior medical director for coverage policy for Cigna. "The level of care would be determined by the degree of functional impairment the individual experiences and the level of danger to the individual." Nomophobia is not yet included in the DSM. Internet use disorder is also not yet included, but is on the list of mental conditions requiring further study. (See: " Infographic: Is your internet addiction covered?")