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Rehab for Cell Phone Addicts?

A new group at a Californian recovery center will focus solely on "nomophobia."

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By Valerie Tejeda

09/26/12

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Group therapy for cell phone "addiction" is now available at at least one drug and alcohol rehab. Numerous surveys have shown "nomophobia"—the fear of being away from your phone—to be a growing problem. Noting the seriousness of the situation, Dr. Elizabeth Waterman of the somewhat embattled Morningside Recovery Center in California has founded the first recovery group for nomophobes. The program aims to help people recognize the symptoms of their dependence, examine the psychological reasons for it and acquire the techniques to overcome it. Psychiatrist Keith Albow, writing for Fox News, would like to see other treatment centers follow: "Hopefully, Morningside Recovery Center’s program will motivate others to take its lead in actually putting an addiction to mobile technology—including cell phone messages and Facebook updates—on par with tobacco and alcohol dependence." He continues: “While it is clearly not as toxic to one’s lungs or liver as drugs or alcohol, it can be just as toxic to one’s self-determination and relationships and may actually make people more vulnerable to other addictions. It seems possible, in fact, that mobile technology could be a 'gateway drug' that fuels the search for self-defeating, counterproductive anti-anxiety strategies—like using marijuana or alcohol to keep uncomfortable feelings at bay."

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