The Link Between Cell Phone Use & Anxiety

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Can Being On Your Cell Phone Frequently Cause Anxiety Disorders?

The Impact of Heavy Cell Phone Use

Cell phones: we can’t live with them, we can’t live without them. We say that technology doesn’t matter, but yet we value our worth on how many times a “like” button is clicked. These small devices can be extremely useful, but can they be negatively affecting our mental health? 

We might not want to admit it, but a lot of us are dependent on our phones. Today, it’s second-nature to pick up your phone and start scrolling on social media when you’re bored or when you’d like to keep your mind occupied. While his habit seems harmless, being on your phone too much could eventually result in negative thoughts and feelings. 

Excessive cell phone use has been linked to several concerns including insomnia, low self-esteem, depression, and (most commonly) anxiety. Today, anxiety disorders are one of the most common complications to come from heavy cell phone use. 

How Being On Your Phone Can Cause Anxiety

The more we use our phone, the more anxious we become about using it. A lot of us turn to our phone to ease anxiety, but it could be causing more of this unsettled feeling. So while you think using your phone is calming you down, it could be restarting a loop of anxiety. 

If you’ve ever felt an “empty” feeling after scrolling on your phone for a while, it’s likely that you’ve experienced what is now known as phone anxiety. Phone anxiety is a feeling we get when we feel like we wasted time on our phone while we could have been doing more productive things like working or meeting personal deadlines. 

Because of the access to technology we have at our fingertips at all times, we are always expected to be accessible through our phone. Personal boundaries no longer exist when people have an open method of communication at all times. That pressure could be very intimidating and could cause unnecessary thought spirals. 

And, of course, social media and phone use encourage toxic comparisons. When we’re scrolling through Instagram and see a photo of an attractive person on vacation, it’s likely that we’ll compare ourselves to them and wonder why we aren’t as lucky. This act of comparing can easily cause a sense of anxiety and a lack of self-confidence. 

Anxiety Disorders: The Signs & Symptoms

While anxiety is different for everyone, there are some general symptoms to look out for if you think you might be struggling with an anxiety disorder. Here are some common symptoms:

  • Feeling nervous, restless, or tense
  • Feelings of panic, danger, or dread
  • Rapid breathing or hyperventilation
  • Trembling or muscle twitching
  • Constipation, diarrhea, gas
  • Avoidance of triggers
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heavy sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia

If you use your phone frequently and are feeling and of the effects above, you might have an anxiety disorder that is connected to heavy phone use. So how can you stop this?

Can Decreasing Phone Use Ease Anxiety?

The most obvious way to ease phone-related anxiety is to cut down your cell phone use. Cutting down your phone time could ease certain types of anxious thoughts, like self-comparison and guilt. You could either take a clean break from your phone and put it away for a few days or simply be intentional about how you use it. When you pick up your phone, think about what you are going to do with it and what you need it for. If you’re not using it for any specific reason, put it down. This can help you make your time on the cell phone more purposeful and productive. 

Some other tactics to ease phone anxiety include cleaning up your apps, only engaging when you feel compelled, and unfollowing if something or someone makes you unhappy or anxious. 

How to Cope With Anxiety In A Healthy Way

Whether phone use has caused your anxiety or exacerbated it, there are many ways to ease these feelings that have nothing to do with your phone. Prioritize healthy hobbies that don’t involve too much phone use: exercising, reading, baking, singing, playing guitar, coding, etc. Yoga and meditation are also helpful in helping individuals relax and practice mindfulness.

If you are still feeling anxious after practicing self-care and enjoying your hobbies, more treatment might be necessary to help you feel like yourself again. Treatment methods for anxiety can range from certain medications to therapy or support groups. 

Are you or your child suffering from anxiety as a result of heavy cell phone use? If so, our team of mental health treatment representatives are happy to answer all of your questions and inform you about available treatment options. Give us a call at (215) 714-6027 or send us an email at for more information. 


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