Category Archives: Mental Health Services

What’s Behind Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

Why do some many of us feel phantom cell phone vibrations?

A lot of cell phones now come with a feature that allows for vibration control systems, which lets you modify that alerting buzz just as easily as you can change the volume of your ring and message tone. But what do you do for those vibrations you’re sure you feel, and yet when you reach in your pocket, there’s no new activity or alerts on your cell?

The Infamous Phantom Buzz
It’s known as the phantom buzz or phantom phone vibration, and it’s a pretty common thing. As researchers are studying this sensation phenomena, they’re finding that it may be a telling sign of the times and how technology has changed our behavior and our perception.

Phantom Vibration Syndrome That phenomenon where you think your phone is vibrating when its not

Widespread Ring-Xiety
Phantom phone vibrations are sometimes called ring-xiety or hypovibochondria, but no matter what you call them, take assurance that this experience is not a rare thing at all. In a 2012 survey of college undergrads, nearly 90 percent of respondents said they have felt phantom phone vibrations on a regular basis. So why is this issue so common?

Too Ready To Respond
Some researchers believe that sensations we may have felt as an itch or twitch in the past are now being interpreted as a phone vibration coming from our pocket, purse, or belt.  Some propose that this a direct result of the prevalence of cell phones and how often we use them.  On the whole, most of us are so subconsciously poised to receive messages and texts that little sensations caused by the firing of neurons will trigger a phantom buzz.

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Compulsive Tech Use?
The prevalence of the phenomena is an echo of the same compulsion that many of us feel when it comes to checking things like Twitter or refreshing our Facebook news feed. In a way, it’s our technology programing us to be poised and ready to receive information in an instant.

Research has also found that the more frequently an individual checks his or her phone, and the more he or she relies upon that device to regulate an emotional state—such as to quell anxiety or boost their mood—the more likely he or she was to experience phantom vibrations.

Does It Bug You?
Although many survey respondents said they weren’t bothered by the experience, it may be something you’d rather not experience. In that case, you can switch your phone to a non-vibrate alert mode, carry it in a way that it won’t have contact with your body, or work to eliminate any compulsive phone checking habits.

Seven rules to ditch the phone and regain your life

Giving Your Phone A Break
Try limiting yourself to check you phone just once every thirty minutes or once an hour.  If you really want to reduce your reliance on your cell without leaving it at home, try turning it off completely for every odd or even hour of the day. When you find yourself subconsciously checking your phone and only seeing a blank screen instead, you’ll be more aware of your compulsive behavior and better able to adjust it, and think of how much battery life you’ll save!

Do you feel phantom cell phone vibrations often? Do you think it’s a reflection of your cell phone habits or something else?