Smartphone withdrawal leaves us 'stressed and unhappy'

By Rebecca Evans

When the smartphone goes quiet we get depressed, says a new study. Photo / Thinkstock
When the smartphone goes quiet we get depressed, says a new study. Photo / Thinkstock

Feeling stressed because your mobile phone keeps buzzing with texts, emails and alerts? Count yourself lucky - because you may find it's more upsetting when it doesn't.

Smartphone users are suffering from anxiety and withdrawal symptoms when they do not receive any messages, a study has revealed. Some users are so hooked on the gadgets that they even report feeling phantom vibrations, convincing them they've received a text or call when they haven't.

More than a third of adults now own a smartphone such as an iPhone or BlackBerry, which offer quick and easy access to the internet, email and social networking.

But experts from the University of Worcester say that their convenience could be having a detrimental effect on our mental health. The psychologists found that some users become obsessive and upset when they do not receive notifications, such as Facebook or Twitter alerts, and emails.

They asked 100 owners of the devices to complete a questionnaire and psychometric stress test.

The results revealed that many of them had become so hooked on virtual socialising that they felt stressed and unhappy when their phones were inactive.

Study author Richard Balding said: "So many people have smartphones now that the effect they are having on their lives and the amount of time they are spending on them is, to be honest, quite scary. The amount smartphones are being used is going up and up with the introduction of new apps.

"It is about weighing the good with the bad and moderating usage. From my study I found that users had a dependency with their phones and that they suffered from feelings of withdrawal when they didn't get any messages or alerts.'

The results showed that while phones were often bought to improve work efficiency, they were usually used for social purposes.

And in an attempt to keep on top of things when feeling stressed, users check their phones more often - only for a lack of new messages to raise stress levels further.

The study also revealed that 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teenagers described themselves as "addicted' to their device.

- DAILY MAIL


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