Cell Phone Addiction

No Cost Rehab focuses on treating alcoholism and drug addiction. We include this page on cell phone addition for a few reasons. First, we want to be an information portal and provide a valuable experience for our visitors. Second, and most critical, is the connection between cellphone over-use and drug addiction.

According to a Baylor University study, it can actually be as addicting as drugs and alcohol for some. The head of the study, Professor James Robert, says that people can be addicted to behaviors and that habitual cellphone users can begin to depend on their phone in ways that seem quite similar to how people respond to drugs. For example, spending time away from the phone can make them feel anxious or panicky, looking a bit like withdrawal. A dead battery can cause right-out chaos and anxiety. Furthermore, a number of addicted smartphone users find that cellphone use can lift their moods, and that it takes an increasing amount of time to get the same level of enjoyment from their phone than it did when they first started using a smartphone.

Cell Phone Addiction – General Information

Most cell phones sold today are “Smartphones”.  They are treated as “smart” because they include the features of a computer. They are so practical, affordable and productive, that they have become an essential tool for everyday life. However, cell phone addiction has become just as much of a problem as drugs or alcohol. Cell phone addiction is when a person is unable to separate themselves from their phone, for more than a minute at a time.

According to a Baylor University study, it can actually be as addicting as drugs and alcohol for some.

Cell Phone Addiction is usually referred to as a Behavioral Disorder.  It is more common in teens.  It is characterized by a person’s chronic using of, and obsession with, a cell phone. It sounds strange but a cellphone can become too important in a person’s life. The bottom line is, if a phone is negatively impacting the quality of life — there is a problem. There is even a new acronym FOMO.  It is the ‘Fear of Missing Out’ syndrome. That is, by doing something other than regularly checking in on your phone you might miss something of importance.


  • Fiddling with a cell phone every spare minute.
  • Walking around the house with a phone.
  • Regularly checking the screen to see if there are any missed messages
  • Thinking your phone is ringing, but it is not
  • Having dinner with the phone on the table
  • Having a large (often unaffordable) cell phone bill.
  • Sleeping with the phone next to you
  • Feeling compelled to have the newest technology
  • Interacting more with technology and less with people
  • Annoying friends and family by always checking the phone

The Causes of Addiction

Dependency is brought about by a number of factors; so a cell phone attachment issue, may be one piece of a larger addiction.  Cell phones have become such an important part of our culture, it might seem silly to label it as an “addiction.”  However, it becomes a problem when (simply put) it starts creating problems.  If someone is more dedicated to checking their phone than living life, there is a good chance that there are some underlying issues.

Options for Treatment

Just like any addiction, treatment programs can take many forms. They may include:

  • psychotherapy
  • cognitive-behavior therapy
  • behavioral management training;
  • parent education (if the addict is a child or young adult)
  • social skills training
  • family support services

If it is determined that the person needs medication (in addition to the behaviorally based treatment) it is often most effective if both types of treatment are employed together. If a medication-based treatment is used, then the on-going monitoring of the medication’s effects and effectiveness is critical.


According to Android Authority, for those who would like a “detox” from their phone habits, there are at least a few apps that can help. While it seems a bit ironic and counterintuitive, a number of apps can be found on the Google Play store designed to keep us away from our phones. Probably one of the best known is called FlipD, which basically allows you to set periods of time where you are locked out of your phone. During those times you can only call three special contacts, and all messages are auto-responded with the message of your choice. Once per session you can get a 60-second “free pass” where you can check out Facebook or do something else you absolutely can’t wait on.

There are other apps out there that offer a similiar experience, though they may also focus on tracking how much time you spend, such as BreakFree and Phone Addict Free.

Do these apps actually help? Possibly, at least according to a Psychotherapist by the name of Robert Weiss. He says the best thing to do is first identify what it is you are craving from your phone: games, social media, work. Those are probably the real addiction issues. That said, he states that “using an app to calm yourself, distract yourself, soothe yourself is not the same as getting away from tech, but boy it’s a great way to take a few minutes out of your day and find some peace. Who doesn’t need that?”

No Cost Rehab has lots of treatment options. If you, or a loved one suffers from a technology based addiction, call us for help.

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