Recent research suggests that ‘selfitis’, or an obsession with taking selfies, may be a genuine mental health disorder.
Researchers at Nottingham Trent University’s psychology department in the UK and the Thiagarajar School of Management (TSM) in India began looking into the claim after the American Psychiatric Association published a hoax article saying that ‘selfitis’ had been classed a genuine mental disorder, back in 2014.
Dr Mark Griffiths said: “A few years ago, stories appeared in the media claiming that the condition of selfitis was to be classed as a mental disorder.”
“While the story was revealed to be a hoax, it didn't mean that the condition of selfitis didn't exist.”
“We have now appeared to confirm its existence and developed the world's first Selfitis Behaviour Scale to assess the condition.”
Using 400 participants from India (because the country has the most Facebook users), the researchers developed the ‘Selfitis Behaviour Scale’, which can be used to find out how severely people are affected with the condition.
Using a scale of one, for strongly disagree, to five for strongly agree, people can determine how severe their selfitis is by responding to statements including “sharing my selfies creates healthy competition with my friends and colleagues”, and “I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media”.
Researcher Dr Janarthanan Balakrishnan 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.”
We asked Push Doctor’s very own Doctor Simon Latham for his opinion of whether selfitis is something we should be concerned about and he said: “Selfitis might sound like a joke – but with 62% of 1,500 Facebook and Twitter users recently reporting that they feel inadequate compared to other users, maybe we really are starting to feel the impact of our changing social habits.”