“Nomophobia”: Impact of Cell Phone Use Interfering with Symptoms and Emotions of Individuals with Panic Disorder Compared with a Control Group

Anna Lucia Spear King 1, *, Alexandre Martins Valença 1, Adriana Cardoso Silva 1, Federica Sancassiani 2, Sergio Machado 1, 3, 4, 5, Antonio Egidio Nardi 1
1 Laboratory of Panic and Respiration, Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM), Brazil;
2 Health psychologist. Psychotherapist. Researcher at Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Italy;
3 Quiropraxia Program of Faculty of Health Sciences, Central University (UCEN), Santiago, Chile;
4 Institute of Philosophy, Federal University of Uberlandia (IFILO/UFU), Minas Gerais, Brazil;
5 Physical Activity Neuroscience Laboratory (LABNAF), Physical Activity Sciences Postgraduate Program of Salgado de Oliveira University (PPGCAF/UNIVERSO), Niterói, Brazil

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© King et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Laboratory of Panic and Respiration, Institute of Psychiatry of Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (IPUB/UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil; Tel: (55-21) 22953549; Fax: (55-21) 25433101; E-mail:


Panic disorder refers to the frequent and recurring acute attacks of anxiety. Objective: This study describes the routine use of mobiles phones (MPs) and investigates the appearance of possible emotional alterations or symptoms related to their use in patients with panic disorder (PD). Background: We compared patients with PD and agoraphobia being treated at the Panic and Respiration Laboratory of The Institute of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to a control group of healthy volunteers. Methods: An MP-use questionnaire was administered to a consecutive sample of 50 patients and 70 controls. Results: People with PD showed significant increases in anxiety, tachycardia, respiratory alterations, trembling, perspiration, panic, fear and depression related to the lack of an MP compared to the control group. Conclusions: Both groups exhibited dependence on and were comforted by having an MP; however, people with PD and agoraphobia showed significantly more emotional alterations as well as intense physical and psychological symptoms when they were apart from or unable to use an MP compared to healthy volunteers.

Keywords: Anxiety, dependence, nomophobia, panic.