Obsession With Selfies Is A Sign Of Mental Disorder

Some people are fond of taking selfies, but do you know when this fondness becomes a disorder? As per the Oxford English Dictionary, a selfie is a photograph that a person takes of oneself. In terms of social psychology, clicking selfies is a self-oriented action that allows the person to establish individuality and self-importance and can signify personality traits, such as narcissism.

The term selfie was recently added to Oxford’s online dictionary. But after some research, scientists had little knowledge about it. A new study about personality and individual differences noticed a relation between selfie-posting and narcissism or psychopathic or self-objectifying or even both.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) pointed out a relation between selfie and selfitis, an obsessive-compulsive desire to capture photos of one’s self and post them on social media.

They claimed that in social psychology, there are three phases of such disorder (Selfitis), such as:-

  • Borderline: Capturing photos of oneself at least three times a day but not uploading them on social media.
  • Acute: The phase of disorder where a person captures at least three selfies in a day and uploads them all on social media.
  • Chronic: The uncontrolled urge to capture selfies every hour and post them on social media multiple times in a day.

Selfitis is a term used to describe the cultural habit of people who are obsessed with taking an abundance of selfies and posting them on social media. 

Is Taking Selfie A Mental Disorder?

Keeping a person’s mental health in mind, being obsessed with taking selfies resembles Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD). It is a type of anxiety disorder of various forms with a fundamental symptom- a trap of repetitive thought and behavioral rituals.

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that almost 2% of the people suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD). It is more than the people suffering from other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder.

According to the scientists, both neurological predisposition and environmental factors collectively cause unwanted, intrusive thoughts and the compulsive behavior pattern, causing a repetition of thoughts and behavioral rituals. This repetition of thoughts and behavior can be anything, such as repetitive warnings of getting the late or continuous urge to clean surroundings or obsessed with taking selfies.

Taking selfies if you feel the need or when you want to capture a memory with your presence is something else but being obsessed with taking selfies is completely different. This will be better understood after knowing the symptoms of getting obsessed with taking selfies.

Also Read: Know Someone Over-Obsessed With Looks? It Might Be A Disorder

Symptoms Of Obsessions With Taking Selfies: Confirm Here

Starting with the fundamentals, when things are under your control, you are normal, but when a thought or behavior gets out of control, it’s not considered normal. Here are some of the common symptoms of obsessions with taking a selfie, such as:-

  • The habit of taking selfies becomes uncontrolled and it starts affecting your work, school, and relationships.
  • A person may feel momentary relief from the overall anxiety but doesn’t derive pleasure from the obsessiveness of taking selfies.
  • The occurrence of an unwanted repetitive idea or thought, such as taking a selfie at an unsuitable time.
  • In the case of chronic cases, the victim will start understanding the uselessness of being obsessed with taking selfies.

What Gives Birth To Such Mental Disorders?

As per the scientists, a biological predisposition, environmental factors, such as experiences and attitudes during childhood, and faulty thought patterns contribute to the occurrence of such mental disorders

People with such mental disorders respond to SSRI antidepressants, indicating dysfunction in the serotonin neurotransmitter system. Scientists also say, there must be a defect in the chemical messenger system in the brain.

On a general level, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD) of taking selfies coexist with depression, eating disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

This can be understood more clearly with an example: loving ourselves is very important and necessary as well, but on the way of loving oneself, a person should not get obsessed with anything, not even obsessed with taking selfies.

How To Deal With Obsessions?

There are two ways to deal with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD) of taking selfies – psychotherapy and medication. Now it depends on the condition of the patient, which type of treatment will suit him best. 

For example, there are cases where either of the treatments is enough to treat such mental disorders, but some cases require both medication and psychotherapy. As per the studies conducted by the NIMH, the combination of drug-psychotherapy is best in young people.

The medicines involved in treating such conditions are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) like fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and paroxetine (Paxil). These drugs have been found useful in treating such conditions by lowering mental disorders’ signs and symptoms.

But when it comes to psychotherapy, it produces long-lasting effects and usually focuses on two aspects of disorders, unraveling the irrational thoughts involved in taking selfies.


Tags: Psychological Impact Of Selfies, Selfie Addiction, Taking Too Many Selfies Is A Mental Disorder, Selfie Obsession

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Jim Carson

Jim Carson is the writer for the mental health section of CheapMedicineShop.com. He is certified in clinical mental health counselling and has conducted cognitive behaviour therapy for war veterans struggling with PTSD. Professionally and personally, Jim is an astute observer of human behaviour that reflects well in his work.