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Taking too many selfies can be a sign of mental disorder

Taking too many selfies can be a sign of mental disorder

10 April | 0 Comments | By Rachael

“Let me take a selfie
What should my caption be?
I want it to be clever
How about “Livin’ with my ladies, Hashtag live”
I only got 10 likes in the last 5 minutes
Do you think I should take it down?
Let me take another selfie.”

The selfie song by the Chainsmokers, an EDM-pop group, vividly describes the anxiousness related to selfies and social media, which have become the talk of the town in recent times. Both social media and the increased practice of clicking selfies have succeeded in casting a spell upon every individual.

Considering the fact that both the concept of selfie and social media have reduced the scope of face-to-face interactions, there has been a lot of discussion about selfies and its connection with mental health. In fact, several studies have also thrown light upon the integral connection between selfies and mental illnesses.

As per many experts, people who enjoy posting their selfies by clicking them for no reason, as well as regularly searching for the perfect angle, place and time, can be considered as the cases of mental health issues. Looking at the magnitude of the problem, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) actually went as far as to coin a new term “selfitis” to categorize taking selfie as a mental illness.

According to Dr. David Veale, consultant psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and The Priory Hospital, “two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on the social media sites.”

Body dysmorphic disorder and its relation to mental health

According to the BDD Foundation, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by a preoccupation with one or more apparent flaws in appearance, which are unnoticeable to others. People who are obsessed with taking selfies are excessively self-conscious about such flaws. They often perceive the defects as a dent in their personality and tend to avoid public places or social situations. Due to the entire grueling experience of judging their flaws, people often expose themselves to the severe risks of a cosmetic surgery, make themselves housebound, suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental health issues, and even contemplate suicide.
However, the increased obsession with selfies can be a sign of BDD and related mental health issues, such as desperateness for attention and lack of confidence. Dr. Pamela Rutledge, director of Media Psychology Research Centre in Boston, Massachusetts, stated in one of her articles, “Selfies frequently trigger the perception of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the ‘damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t’ spectra of either narcissism or very low self-esteem.”

Recently, the shocking news about Danny Bowman’s obsession with selfies shook everyone. By developing an unnerving addiction to selfies, the British teenager turned desperate to click the perfect selfie. He eventually tried to kill himself when he failed to do it. Reportedly, he used to take about 200 snaps of himself and did not leave his home for nearly six months.  According to the APA, people who like taking selfies every now and then are increasingly suffering from low self-esteem and loneliness. By taking selfies, they want to overcome these gaps and challenges.

Living a trouble-free life

Due to the dawn of the social media in the 21st century, some of the common problems witnessed among people spending more time on social media and taking selfies include narcissism, self-objectification, lack of empathy, etc. These problems eventually trigger mental disorders. By seeking cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), patients suffering from obsessive behavior related to their appearance can effectively overcome the challenges. Overall, mental disorders have surfaced as one of the growing health concerns across the world that can happen to anyone, irrespective of age, gender, etc.

If you or your loved one is suffering from mental illness, contact the Arizona Mental Health Helpline to know more about the mental health treatment centers in Arizona. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-606-7791 or chat online with our counselors to get more information about the best mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.