‘Selfitis’ – the obsessive need to post selfies – is a genuine mental disorder, say psychologists
We all know that certain someone who is intent on capturing every given moment. They even have that one specific expression set aside, ready to plaster it on the very second an iPhone is pulled out. It never seems concerning until you look through a compiled, endless list of someone’s Instagram selfies and even then, it could be more funny than worrisome. Now I’m not one to typically draw concern towards trivial matters, especially something that sounds as ridiculous as an addiction to self-portraits.
‘Selfitis’ is a genuine mental condition and people who feel compelled to continually post pictures of themselves on social media may need help, psychologists have warned.
The term was first coined in 2014 to describe obsessive selfie-taking in a spoof news story which suggested the American Psychiatric Association was considering classifying it as a disorder.
They have now confirmed the ‘selfitis’ does indeed exist and have even developed a ‘Selfitis Behaviour Scale’ which can be used to assess its severity.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction confirmed that there are three levels of selfitis.
Borderline cases are people who take selfies at least three times a day, but do not post them on social media. Next is the ‘acute’ phase of the disorder where the pictures are posted. In the third ‘chronic’ stage, people feel an uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self round the clock, posting them more than six times a day.
Researchers found that typical ‘selfitis’ sufferers were attention seekers, often lacking in self confidence, who were hoping to boost their social standing and feel part of a group by constantly posting images of themselves.
Dr Janarthanan Balakrishnan, a research associate from Nottingham Trent’s Department of Psychology, said: “Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to ‘fit in’ with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviours.
“Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behaviour, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”
The Selfitis Behaviour Scale
Using the statements below, rate them 1 to 5, where 5 is strongly agree, and 1 is strongly disagree.
The higher your score, the greater the likelihood is that you suffer from selfitis
- Taking selfies gives me a good feeling to better enjoy my environment
- Sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues
- I gain enormous attention by sharing my selfies on social media
- I am able to reduce my stress level by taking selfies
- I feel confident when I take a selfie
- I gain more acceptance among my peer group when I take selfies and share them on social media
- I am able to express myself more in my environment through selfies
- Taking different selfie poses helps increase my social status
- I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media
- Taking more selfies improves my mood and makes me feel happy
- I become more positive about myself when I take selfies
- I become a strong member of my peer group through selfie postings
- Taking selfies provides better memories about the occasion and the experience
- I post frequent selfies to get more â€˜likesâ€™ and comments on social media
- By posting selfies, I expect my friends to appraise me
- Taking selfies instantly modifies my mood
- I take more selfies and look at them privately to increase my confidence
- When I donâ€™t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group
- I take selfies as trophies for future memories
- I use photo editing tools to enhance my selfie to look better than others