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Nomophobia: The Mobile Phone in Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia: Reducing Phobias or Worsening of Dependence?

King, Anna Lucia S. MSc*; Valença, Alexandre M. MD, PhD; Nardi, Antonio Egidio MD, PhD*

Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology: March 2010 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 52-54
doi: 10.1097/WNN.0b013e3181b7eabc
Case Reports

Objective In this report, we present and discuss a hypothesis for the development, in individuals with panic disorder and agoraphobia, of dependence on his or her mobile phone (MP).

Background This disorder, termed nomophobia, is a result of the development of new technologies. Nomophobia is considered a disorder of the modern world and refers to discomfort or anxiety caused by being out of contact with a MP or computer. It is the pathologic fear of remaining out of touch with technology.

Method We present, the case report of a patient who has continuously kept his MP with him since 1995 because of his overwhelming need to feel safe and to be able to immediately call emergency services and people he trusts should he feel sick.

Result The patient was treated with medication and cognitive-behavior psychotherapy. He has remained asymptomatic for 4 years. The patient showed significant medical improvement in his panic disorder and phobias, but there has been no change in his nomophobia.

Conclusions The case presented here illustrates the dependence of an individual with panic disorder on his MP. A specific approach for this dependence should be used in some panic disorder patients.

*Panic and Respiration Laboratory

Centro de Ciências Médicas da Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) and Panic and Respiration Laboratory, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, INCT Translational Medicine (CNPq)

Reprints: Antonio Egidio Nardi, MD, PhD, Laboratory of Panic and Respiration, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, R. Visconde de Pirajá 407/702, Rio de Janeiro 22410-003 Brazil (e-mail:

Received for publication September 9, 2008

accepted June 29, 2009

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.