5 mental disorders caused by excessive use of Internet and smartphones

Researchers have found multiple mental disorders that have been caused by the rise in people’s use of the Internet and smartphones. Here are the most common ones

5 mental disorders caused by excessive use of Internet and smartphones

There is no doubt that in today’s world, technology is an important part of our lives and has a huge impact on the way we communicate, live, and work.

The simplicity of communication has been aided by the invention of mobile phones and Internet. These two inventions have changed the way we communicate, which is a good thing in our society and generation as humans beings.

The debate continues, however, on whether the part technology plays in our lives is positive or negative in the varied aspects of work, life, and leisure.


Nomophobia is the modern fear of being unable to communicate through a mobile phone. Nomophobia literally means “no mobile phone phobia”  that is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact.

If a person is in an area of no network, has run out of balance or battery, the person gets anxious, which adversely affects the concentration level. If you find yourself always alert for phone notifications or reaching out to get your phone at frequent intervals, it’s for a digital detox.


Carrying your anxieties about your health onto your Internet search behaviour may be a symptom that you’ve got the increasingly common ailment you won’t find diagnosed there: Cyberchondria.

Cyberchondria, according to New York State Psychiatric Institute, refers to ‘searching the web excessively for health care information.’ The Internet can make existing feelings of hypochondria worse and in some cases cause new anxieties because there’s so much unfiltered medical information out there without proper context.


The term was first coined in 2014 to describe obsessive selfie-taking in a spoof news story which suggested the American Psychiatric Association was considering classifying it as a disorder.

Following on from the hoax, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management in India decided to investigate whether there was any truth in the phenomenon.

They have now confirmed the ‘selfitis’ does indeed exist and have even developed a ‘Selfitis Behaviour Scale’ which can be used to assess its severity. ‘Selfitis’ is a genuine mental condition and people who feel compelled to continually post pictures of themselves on social media may need help, psychiatrists have warned.

Google effect

The Google effect, also called digital amnesia is the tendency to forget information that can be found readily online by using  Google. According to the first study about the Google effect, people are less likely to remember certain details they believe will be accessible online.

When faced with difficult questions, people are primed to think about computers and that when people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself and enhanced recall instead for where to access it.

Phantom Ringing Syndrome

Phantom vibration syndrome or phantom ringing is the perception that one’s smartphone is vibrating or ringing when it is not ringing. According to Dr Michael Rothberg, the term is not a syndrome but is better characterised as a tactile hallucination since the brain perceives a sensation that is not present.

In most studies, a majority of cell phone users report experiencing occasional phantom vibrations or ringing, with reported rates ranging from 27.4% to 89%.

With inputs from Dr Pritam Chandak, a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from Nagpur