We all know we're attached to our smartphones, but sometimes the addiction doesn't really hit us until we're left without it.
Research shows that 73 percent of Americans would feel "panicked" if they lost their mobile phone, while 14 percent took it a step further and said they would feel "desperate" without their device. The prospect of taking a subway ride without a phone was "paralyzing" for HuffPost Live host Caitlyn Becker, who recently wrote about her anxiety after leaving her phone at the office.
"We have all gotten so used to having these appendages, these devices that are almost like our other limb, that when they're not there we start to panic," said HuffPost's Executive Lifestyle Editor Lori Leibovich during a conversation with HuffPost Live.
Part of the addiction to smartphones stems from our worry that something enormously important will happen while we're incommunicado, and we won't be able to react. But that worry is overblown, Leibovich said.
"The truth is there's almost never a life-and-death circumstance where someone is going to need you that badly, but we've just sort of forgotten about that because we're so used to having [our phones]," she said.
Check out the full conversation about smartphone addiction at HuffPost Live HERE:
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You Have To Respond... Immediately
If an unanswered texts or emails gets your heart rate going, there's a good chance that your smartphone is adding stress to your life rather than making it easier. Constantly interrupting what you're doing -- whether it's writing a college essay or spending some quality time with your friends -- to check your phone might be an indication that your behavior has become compulsive. When you start getting anxious about your inbox, take a moment to step back and remind yourself that it's probably not as urgent as it seems. Sleeping with your phone away from your bed and keeping it in your backpack instead of your pocket during class can also gradually help to lessen your urge to be constantly checking for new messages.
You Have Phantom Cellphone Syndrome
You could’ve sworn you felt your phone vibrating in your back pocket, but when you took it out, you saw that nothing had happened. <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227184/Cellphone_vibration_syndrome_and_other_signs_of_tech_addiction" target="_blank">Phantom cellphone vibration syndrome</a> is a real sign of technology addiction -- and it's more common than you might think. A study conducted at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne found that a whopping<a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563212000799" target="_blank"> 89 percent</a> of undergrads had experienced feeling nonexistent cellphone vibrations.
You Have A Bad Case Of FOMO
Are you constantly thinking about what everyone else is doing and all the things you might be missing out on at any given moment? Does scrolling through party photos and enthusiastic weekend updates on your News Feed make you feel sad or anxious? Well, there's a name for that: FOMO. It's not uncommon for ocial media and smartphone users to experience a "fear of missing out" when they're unable to get to their phones or when they're getting updates about all the exciting things that everyone in their social network is doing. The best way to combat FOMO is to step back and say no sometimes, and just take sometime to do whatever <em>you </em>want -- not what other people are doing or telling you to do.
You're Not Paying Attention To Your Friends & Family
We've all be there -- you're having dinner with friends or family with your phone sitting next to your plate, and instead of ignoring it, you turn your attention away from the conversation to respond to a text. While there's nothing wrong with picking up important calls or excusing yourself to answer messages when necessary -- but if you make a habit of giving only half your attention to the people you're with while the other half is busy checking Twitter, it might be time to rethink your phone habits. To avoid damaging your relationships, make a resolution to give your full attention to whoever you're with in person and save the screen time for later.
You Feel Restless When You're Away From Your Phone
If you experience withdrawal when you can't check your phone or respond to messages, you might have a technology addiction. <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8235302/Facebook-generation-suffer-information-withdrawal-syndrome.html" target="_blank">Studies have found</a> that turning off their phones can induce physical and mental withdrawal symptoms similar to those exhibited by drug addicts. If you feel yourself becoming nervous and antsy when you're away from your phone, take note of those feelings and find a coping mechanism -- taking deep breaths, going for a walk or exercising could help you get past the anxiety.
Poor Performance In School
If you're having an increasingly difficult time focusing in class and eagerly await the ringing of the bell so that you can check your phone and return that unanswered text, an Internet or smartphone addiction <a href="http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cpb.1998.1.237" target="_blank">may be partially to blame</a> for low grades. Although there may be many factors at play in decreasing academic performance, constant distraction and excessive time spent on your smartphone can easily interfere with your schoolwork. If the lure of your phone is too powerful for you to concentrate on homework,<a href="http://mashable.com/2012/01/03/block-internet-distractions-apps/" target="_blank"> try downloading an app </a>that blocks social media activity and online distractions.