If you are one of those who feel a phobia just thinking of going out without your phone, or if you swear that you heard your smartphone ringing but you realize that there was no such call, then you could be suffering from one of the new syndromes accredited to the digital age, which were unthinkable just two decades ago.
Cognitive neuroscientists say that prolonged time and the obsession to live glued to the screens of mobile phones and computers are modifying our brain and the ways we behave. They are also generating new diseases and phobias worth studying.
The high price of living connected
Memory and attention span are skills that have been deteriorating due to constant use of the Internet. Although we now feel more relaxed because we do not have to remember everything, and it is enough to check in a search engine like Google to find the answers, we also tend not to force the brain to work to remember something without the need for the Internet.
There are other symptoms of recent disorders. Syndromes such as the “ghost call” or “ringxiety” are becoming more common. It is about listening to the mobile ringing, or feeling that it vibrates, when it has not really happened.
Nomophobia and cyberchondria
The phobia of being left without a phone, or of panicking if the device is not nearby, is a pathology that began to be described in 2012. It is called nomophobia and it is still unknown if it is harmful to health.
If you know a hypochondriac, they may have developed cyberchondria or “Googleitis.” It is a type of hypochondria. The person self-diagnoses illnesses based on what they read on the Internet, which can be serious and generate extreme neurosis when believing that they are suffering from a terminal illness.
Technoference is another disorder, which implies not letting go of the phone at any time. Everything is done in a hurry, even sex, so as not to separate from the beloved mobile.
And if the person feels that their entire day is a movie to be seen and shared, they may be suffering from “Truman show syndrome.” Behind this there may be delusions of grandeur, narcissism, or persecutory illusions.