Rehab for Cell Phone Addicts?

By Valerie Tejeda 09/26/12

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

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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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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix, Salon.com, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.

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