Letter to the Editor,
Dr. Digital: Devices diagnosis
Patient 1: I have this feeling of panic upon being separated from my phone or tablet. Sometimes I feel panic when I misplace my phone and at other times that panic spirals into desperation.
Dr. Digital: You are suffering from "No-Mobile Phobia" or "nomophobia".
Patient 2: My tech devices interrupt my leisure time, conversations, and meals. What’s worse is that I'll be on Facebook and he'll be on a sporting app while we are both in bed, then we realize that we are literally sitting in bed together, but living in different worlds.
Dr. Digital: You are suffering from "technoference”. Higher “technoference” correlates directly with lower relationship and life satisfaction. When people experience what they perceive to be an interruption due to technology, their views of the relationship are likely to suffer, especially if these interruptions are frequent.
Patient 3: I always feel that my mobile device is pinging or vibrating when, in fact, it is not.
Dr. Digital: You are suffering from “fauxcellarm”, “phantom ringing”, and “ringxiety”. Phantom vibrations are this unusual curiosity that speaks to our connection with our phones.
Patient 4: I am always researching and diagnosing my own illnesses online. I use the internet to self-diagnose. I get neurotic, and go down a Google wormhole, frantically reading about every dreaded disease that matches my symptoms, and soon I’m convinced I’m dying.
Dr. Digital: You are suffering from “cyberchondria”. The top diagnoses matching a symptom search will usually be wrong. It can mess with the diagnostic process, because the results can suggest rare or morbid conditions to patients, which in turn can prompt the appearance of new 'symptoms.'
Patient 5: I have this spooky feeling that someone's watching me or listening to me; that my life is being broadcast.
Dr. Digital: You are suffering from the “Truman Show Delusion” from the 1998 movie “The Truman Show”, where Truman Burbank had that feeling too, only his turned out to be true. With all the recent revelations about “wiretapping”, “surveillance” and “unmasking”, people can feel unnerved.
Marian Casillas, Ed.D.