‘Selfitis’ is a genuine mental condition, say psychologists. Photo source: The telegraph
‘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.
Following on from the hoax, researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management in India decided to investigate whether there was any truth in the phenomenon.
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.”
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Other technologically related mental health disorders which have been identified in recent years include ‘nomophobia’ the fear of not being near a mobile phone, ‘technoference’, the constant intrusion of technology in everyday life, and ‘cyberchondria’, feeling ill after searching online for symptoms of illness.
However Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London, was more skeptical about the proposed new condition.
“The research suggests that people take selfies to improve their mood, draw attention to themselves, increase their self confidence and connect with their environment.
“If that is true then this paper is itself 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. But that is dangerous because it can give something reality where it really has none.”
This piece by ‘The Telegraph’ 15 December 2017. was first seen on