Health Care

Can´t stop taking pictures of yourself? Then you might…

Can´t stop taking pictures of yourself? Then you might…”

I'm sorry, I know we do probably post a few too many, but what's wrong with making yourself feel good? Let's get some positivity around here.

The term was first coined in 2014 as part of a spoof news article claiming selfitis was to be deemed a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. It was scale tested using a survey of 400 participants.

"As with internet addiction, the concepts of selfitis and selfie addiction started as a hoax, but recent research including the present paper has begun to empirically validate its existence", it said. Today, selfitis is still not classified as a mental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but researchers of a new study seems to not just confirm its existence, but they also found a way to measure just how severe an individual's case is in the form of their "Selfitis Behavior Scale".

The findings, published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction confirmed that there are three levels of selfitis.

It defined selfitis 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".

Borderline cases are people who take at least three selfies a day but don't post them on social media; acute cases involve people who take selfies at least three times a day and post all the photos on social media; and chronic cases are people who have the urge to take selfies "around the clock" and post them on social media at least six times per day.

Over 700 students participated in the second phase of the study, all of whom are from India which has the largest number of Facebook users and the largest number of deaths from unsafe selfie attempts.

There were six motivating factors identified to the act, namely to seek attention, to increase self-confidence, to connect with the environment or create memories, to be socially competitive, to improve mood, and to conform with a social group. Might be worth checking in with your mates, then.

Selfitis, or the obsessive taking of selfies, appears to be a genuine condition, research has suggested.

Selfitis is not the only technology-related disorder to have been studied, with other researchers having also looked into "nomophobia" or the phobia of not having a mobile phone to hand.

However, other academics aren't convinced that selfitis is actually a thing, with one going so far to call the paper "an academic selfie".

Dr Mark Salter, a spokesman for The Royal College of Psychiatrists, added: "Selfitis doesn't exist, and it shouldn't exist".

"There is a tendency to try and label a whole range of complicated and complex human behaviours with a single word", he said. "But that is unsafe because it can give something reality where it really has none", he concluded.

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