Is selfie addiction a mental disorder?

Are selfies shooting people constantly mentally ill?

A few years ago there was news in the international press that the American Psychiatric Association classified the obsessive selfie taking as a mental disorder. This disease is said to be called selfitis. However, it quickly turned out that this message was a mistake. Researchers are now investigating the connection between the psyche and the compulsive taking of selfies.

Scientists from Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and the Thiagarajar School of Management in India investigated whether a mental disorder was the cause of the compulsive taking of selfies. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "International Journal of Mental Health Addiction".

What is a selfie anyway?

A so-called selfie is a photo of yourself. These pictures are like a self-portrait and are often taken with cell phones. The phone or camera is held in your own hand. The selfie is then taken at arm's length. In the meantime, manufacturers have already reacted to the trend and brought aids such as so-called selfie sticks or selfie sticks onto the market. The selfies are then often displayed on social networks.

Why do some people take so many selfies?

The researchers found in their current investigation that it can actually be a recognized mental disorder that leads to the compulsive taking of selfies. When people suffer from so-called selfitis, they use the pictures of themselves to strengthen their self-confidence or their mood. Another reason for taking the pictures is the pressure of social competition, say the experts.

Compulsive taking selfies is addictive behavior

The compulsive taking of selfies is classified by doctors as an addictive behavior that illustrates mental health problems, such as low self-confidence. For their study, the scientists initially examined 225 subjects. These people came from India. The results were later checked with the help of 400 other participants.

Men and adolescents are particularly at risk

The present study collected data on the existence of selfitis in relation to the three alleged levels of the disease (borderline, acute and chronic). The doctors developed a scale to assess the condition, the so-called Selfitis Behavior Scale (SBS). Men and adolescents between the ages of 16 and 20 in particular achieved poor results on the rating scale. Nine percent of the participants took more than eight selfies per day, while a quarter of the subjects published three or more self-pictures per day on social platforms.

More research is needed

The results show that SBS appears to be a reliable and valid tool for assessing so-called selfitis, but further studies are needed to validate the concept more strictly, the experts say. (as)

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