Selfie Addiction is a Mental Health Problem

Doctorsae Team

Medical Specialists

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It takes courage to love others, but it is more courageous to love oneself. We love ourselves, we love to show ourselves to the world.

We sure enjoy being known, seen and heard. And we live in a time where social media allows us to savor the taste of being seen. Are we guilty if we “dress to impress?”

between enjoying this luxury of being seen and developing unhealthy habits because of it there is a fine line. and with all these applications being developed with the purpose of making us look good, or prove that we are having a good time ( have you noticed that everyone on social media seem to be having the time of their lives ALL THE TIME!) or for the minimum; make us look as if we have our lives together. but more importantly, these applications make us feel seen aesthetically and while feeling seen, known and heard are three normal desires, the habits that are generated because of the effect that social media has on our lives aren't necessarily good for us. to be more specific, take selfies, for example, we take selfies all the time and almost anywhere, have it ever occurred to you that taking a selfie could jeopardize your life?

The Oxford English dictionary defines a selfie as a photograph that one has taken of one’s self, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” This is quite an accurate description, don’t you think?  

Psychologically, taking selfies is an action that is oriented towards one’s self which allows you to establish your self worth and individuality. This action is also associated with narcissism which is a personality disorder.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the obsessive need and consequent action of taking selfies is a mental disorder called ‘Selfitis’. Selfitis has been explained as “the obsessive-compulsive desire to take photos of one’s self and post them on social media as a way to make up for the lack of self-esteem and to fill a gap in intimacy”.

This mental disorder, Selfitis, has been known to have 3 levels;

Borderline: This is when you take photos of yourself at least 3 times a day but do not post them on social media.

Acute selfitis: This is when you take photos of yourself at least 3 times a day and you post each of the 3 photos on social media.

Chronic selfitis: This is an uncontrollable urge or desire to take photos of yourself all the time, almost throughout the day and you post the pictures on social media more than 6 times in one day.

Since 2014, there have been a total of 127 deaths that have been reported as related to selfies and 76 of these were reported in India. You could make a case that India is a selfitis-full country, right? These deaths have occurred when those involved dangerously try to take selfies from dangerous locations or in a dangerous context like from certain unnecessary heights, close to a moving vehicle like trains or while posing with weapons. Of course, the reason for this is none other than to pot it on social media for the likes that would follow and people’s view of them.

Recent studies have also shown that people that suffer from chronic selfitis are those that are more likely to be motivated to take selfies due to the attention that they crave for, social competition and environmental enhancement. They usually seek to fit in or blend with the people that are around them at every point in time. People with such behaviors are usually not stable and they may actually display signs or symptoms that are similar to other potentially addictive behaviors.

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