Anxiety in a Digital World

Although the data shared here relates most specifically to the US, we can draw many parallels anywhere in the western world. I think one of the most shocking aspects is that statement about nomophobia! What do you agree with, and equally interesting, agree less on?

Rising Levels of Anxiety in a Digital World

About the author
Bob Brotchie

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, life coach and creator of Conscious Living by Design™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to clients in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).


  1. Many years ago we had anxiety, depression, and the whole gamut of mental illnesses ranging from the mild to the totally disquieting. In those days we never spoke about any of them.

    Well, my mother spoke about her sister, who had “had a nervous breakdown” and was a compulsory patient in the psychiatric ward on more than two occasions, but that is as close as mental health came to my life.

    On one of my ways to school was The Epsom Cluster, see for the grim places. These “hospitals were built by the London County Council to alleviate pressure on London’s existing lunatic asylums (sic), which had by this time become overcrowded.”

    Thus was mental illness, and in may cases the plight of the unmarried mother, dealt with. It was swept under the carpet and filed away invisibly behind grim walls.

    Today we treat mental health rather more casually, indeed, more casually than it deserves. Look up:

    “50% of mobile users get anxious without their phones”

    This is not, surely, the clinical ‘anxiety’ that is a thing we need to consider properly. Isn’t this faux-anxiety, the faux-anxiety of “Where the heck did I leave my [expensive possession]?”

    I had to look up Nomophobia! shows an article that Wikipedia editors have rated as inadequate.

    I got upset the other day when I lost a £10 note. I was upset at my own stupidity. Foolishly, I invested time in retracing my steps to fail to find it. More wisely, after I failed, I decided that someone else could have some good fortune.

    Real mental health must not be trivialised by the overly casual statistics in this article, nor by the modern trend to create faux-phobias.

    I have a sneaky feeling that may be why Bob has shared it with us. He does things to make us think.

    I have had what I term ‘real mental health issues’. I still do. They exist with me to a greater or lesser extent depending upon what I am doing. This is my own view, as ever, but I believe these real issues, mine, yours, to be important, but the ‘new’ stuff? That has the risk of making mental health hypochondriacs of us all!

    • Wonderfully written Tim, thank you.
      As ever in the human condition there are many variations across a spectrum. If someone (and this is becoming frighteningly common) has never encountered ‘trauma’, and has consistently been over-parented, then losing a phone will be a major life-event in their limited perspective. Kids / adolescents I see today in the therapy room are in deep trouble with the smallest need not being met. But that smallest need is based on my lenses – and yours Tim, because we have grown immeasurably from the trauma’s that have been our experiences. So, you are quite right that we could potentially trivialise ‘mental health’IF we fail to observe context.
      For me, aside from the business aspect, losing my smart phone would be a joy!!!

      • Make no mistake, losing my batphone would seriously piss me off! But I have everything I care about backed up on a daily basis automagically. I can disable with with a single call to my service provider. After that it is just about money. I refuse to be anxious about it.

        I agree with you about over-parenting. Kids need the ability to graze their knees in an environment of safety. The knew should be tended and the kid allowed straight back to do what they did before with the fond hope that they learn from the graze.

        If adult you had met teenage me in your therapy room I wonder how we would each have coped, the more so had it been in the late 1960s with the weird mores of the period.

        I agree. We look at the trauma in another’s mind through our lenses. I often remind myself that I suffer 100% or mine, you suffer 100% of yours, and they suffer 100% of theirs. 100% is 100%. We each suffer equally. We are at our own limit. Comparing that limit mine to yours to theirs is absolutely wrong, so we do not.

        And yet, ‘Nomophobia’? Ok, I can understand why lack of a batphone is annoying, but a true creator of anxiety? I wonder. And I wonder what lies behind that anxiety expressed as fear of loss of phone.

        Context, as you say, is key. Once that is found, mined for, if you like, then the person exhibiting this stress can be shown routes that may alleviate it.

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Anxiety in a Digital World

by Bob Brotchie time to read: <1 min