Recently, clients have been coming in to Dr. Romance's office with questions about their cell phone use: either it is creating a problem in their relationship, or with getting work done, or even health problems.  Here's how to tell if you have cell phone addiction; and what to do about it.

Addiction/Compulsion is defined by how much it interferes with your life. If you can't control your use, it's important to get treatment for the addiction, even if it's your smart phone. Psychological dependence on a smartphone is being called nomophobia When the level of your phone use means you neglect or have problems with your family, your social life, your health, you are likely to be addicted. If your family constantly complains that you're on the phone too much, or you don't get out for social events or to exercise, your smart phone use is excessive, and probably addictive.

The difference between a healthy phone use vs. addiction is that healthy smart phone use can be controlled. If Wi-Fi, smartphone or charging station is unavailable, it is disappointing but not devastating. When addicted, the phone user feels desperate to have his or her phone outlet, no matter the cost.

Ask yourself these questions to determine if you might be addicted to your smart phone and neglecting other aspects of your life:
Can I set reasonable limits on my phone time?
Am I on the phone long hours for no extra pay or non-work reasons?
Do I have some time for exercise?
Do I get enough sleep?
Do I have time for family and friends?
Am I endangering myself by texting while driving or in other perilous situations?
Am I ruining my relationships by compulsively sexting?
Am I unable to commit to a relationship because I’m constantly using an app like Tinder, Bumble or Badoo?

Realize that the often sedentary nature of phone addiction means if you spend too long at it without breaks, you’ll damage your body and be at risk for repetitive stress injuries (carpal tunnel) and the isolation is also bad for your health. Some of the problems such as slouching over the phone for hours, which strains the neck and back muscles; eyestrain, blurred vision, dizziness, and dry eyes caused by squinting; headaches and even migraines. Another health effect is finger cramping and sore hand muscles that come from continuous scrolling, texting, and gaming on smartphones. Which can cause inflammation in tendons, and possibly lead to tendinitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. People have also experienced phantom smartphone vibrations when their phones were not actually vibrating or not even in their pockets.

To overcome smart phone addictions, find a Twelve-step program like Internet & Tech Addiction Anonymous (ITAA)  Therapy, in conjunction with a Twelve-Step program, can be very helpful, not only in overcoming your smart phone addiction, but also in healing your underlying motivators, the relationships that have been damaged, and even your success at work.

The Real 13th Step: Discovering Confidence, Self-Reliance and Independence Beyond the 12-Step Programs (Digital Parchment) Offers powerful help in recovering from smart phone addiction  Available on Kindle for your smart phone.

The Real 13th Step_ebook

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Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.

Dr. Tessina, is CRO (Chief Romance Officer) for, a website designed to strengthen relationships and guide couples through the various stages of their relationship with personalized tips, courses, and online couples counseling. Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, and such TV shows as “Oprah”, “Larry King Live” and ABC News.