Signs and Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction
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The recent explosion of iPhones, Androids, and other smartphones has provided people with the ability to access the entirety of the Internet on-the-go and at any given moment. 90% of adults in America own a cell phone,1 and while this may not be a problem for many people, some individuals develop an addiction to their mobile devices.

90% of American adults own a cell phone.1

Cell phones are constantly being improved by expanding upon their functionalities, which in turn increases the likelihood of overuse and addiction. According to the PEW Research Center, 67% of smartphone owners have admitted to checking their phone for calls or messages when their phone didn’t vibrate or ring.1 This is one major sign of cell phone dependence and should serve as a warning to cell phone owners.

Signs and Symptoms of Cell Phone Addiction

Although cell phone addiction is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), research has compared it to gambling addiction, which has clearer diagnostic criteria and is included in the DSM-5.

At least 4 of the following signs and symptoms are thought to comprise criteria for cell phone addiction, and the problematic cell phone overuse must cause significant harm in the individual’s life:2,3

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If you or a loved one displays these signs and symptoms of cell phone addiction, help is readily available. Call the phone number above to speak with a treatment specialist about various recovery options.

Physical Effects of Addiction

woman experiencing a headache
Overuse of your cell phone or smartphone can result in a number of different physical problems that may cause permanent damage or be difficult to treat, including:

Psychological Effects of Cell Phone Addiction

Am I Addicted to my Smartphone?

This self-assessment is not meant to officially diagnose you with cell phone addiction. If you are concerned about your problematic behaviors, speak to your doctor or mental health professional about possible treatment.13

  1. Do you find yourself spending more time on your smartphone than you realize?
  2. Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis by staring at your smartphone even though there might be better or more productive things to do?
  3. Do you seem to lose track of time when on your cell phone?
  4. Do you find yourself spending more time texting, tweeting, or emailing as opposed to talking to real-time people?
  5. Has the amount of time you spend on your cell phone been increasing?
  6. Do you secretly wish you could be a little less wired or connected to your cell phone?
  7. Do you sleep with your smartphone on or under your pillow or next to your bed regularly?
  8. Do you find yourself viewing and answering texts, tweets, and emails at all hours of the day and night, even when it means interrupting other things you are doing?
  9. Do you text, email, tweet, or surf the internet while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration?
  10. Do you feel your use of your cell phone actually decreases your productivity at times?
  11. Do you feel reluctant to be without your smartphone, even for a short time?
  12. When you leave the house, you ALWAYS have your smartphone with you and you feel ill-at-ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your smartphone in the car or at home, or you have no service, or it is broken?
  13. When you eat meals, is your cell phone always part of the table place setting?
  14. When your phone rings, beeps, buzzes, do you feel an intense urge to check for texts, tweets, or emails, updates, etc.?
  15. Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your phone many times a day even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see?

If you or a loved one is concerned about maladaptive behaviors and feelings associated with cell phone addiction, don’t hesitate to call to learn more about the treatment options available to you.


  1. Mobile Technology Fact Sheet. (2013, December 27). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  2. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  3. Singh Bhatia, M. (2008). Cell Phone Dependence — a new diagnostic entity. Delhi Psychiatry Journal, 11(2), 123-124. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  4. Digital Eye Strain Report 2015. (2015). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  5. Hansraj, K. (2014). Assessment of Stresses in the Cervical Spine Caused by Posture and Position of the Head. (25), 277-279. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  6. Health Risks of Using Mobile Phones. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  7. Dangers of Texting Whilst Driving. (2008). Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  8. Deepinder, F., Makker, K., & Agarwal, A. (2007). Cell phones and male infertility: Dissecting the relationship. Reproductive BioMedicine Online, 15(3), 266-270. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  9. Patel, R. (2015, June 17). Cell Phone use before bedtime might impact sleep, and daytime tiredness. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  10. Babadi-Akashe, Z., & Zamani, B. (2014). The Relationship between Mental Health and Addiction to Mobile Phones among University Students of Shahrekord, Iran. Addict Health, 6(3-4), 93-99.
  11. Andreassen, C. (2015). Online Social Network Site Addiction: A Comprehensive Review. Curr Addict Rep Current Addiction Reports, 2015(2), 175-184. doi:10.1007/s40429-015-0056-9
  12. Lepp, A., Li, J., Barkley, J., & Salehi-Esfahani, S. (2015). Exploring the relationships between college students’ cell phone use, personality and leisure. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 210-219. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from
  13. Greenfield, D. (2013). Smartphone Abuse Test. Retrieved November 30, 2015, from

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