Fear of Missing Out

By Linda Sapadin, Ph.D.

In case you didn’t have enough to worry about, there’s a new mental health syndrome on the horizon with a funky acronym. It’s FOMO: the Fear of Missing Out.

Missing out? But on what? On what other people are doing. They’re having exciting experiences that you’re not. They attended the hottest concert in town and you didn’t. Their kids have been accepted into Ivy League schools and yours weren’t. And the beat goes on, and on, and on.

FOMO is especially strong for those who are hooked on social media. Why? Because they’re constantly aware of what others are doing. Visit Facebook and you’ll view your friends’ faces with ecstatic smiles. Read their posts and you’ll find gushing descriptions of their awesome adventures. Person after person is having the time of their lives. And you? Well, not so much.

Teens with FOMO are highly anxious that “everyone’s” chatting about a FB post and they were the last to know. Or, “everyone’s” hanging out at a party house and they were excluded.

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