Our culture of selfies and social media addiction has finally caught the attention of psychologists—and they’ve just discovered a new mental health condition they’re calling “Selfitis.”
In an age where we’re becoming increasingly glued to our phones, chasing the digital heroin rush of a “like”, “retweet”, or “share”, it seems an addiction to taking and posting selfies is now a real, debilitating condition—and, in some cases, it’s actually LETHAL.
Although the term “selfitis” originated in a 2014 spoof “news” article claiming that it’d been classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, it seems that now life is imitating art and truth is stranger than fiction.
According to researchers from Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management in Madurai, India, “selfitis” is actually a real condition—and they’ve even created a scale/survey you can take to determine how severe your case is.
As reported by The Daily Mail:
“Borderline selfitis occurs when people take selfies at least three times a day, but do not post them on social media.
“Someone is classed as acute if as many are taken and the pictures are actually posted online.
“You are a chronic selfie-taker if you feel an uncontrollable urge to take photos of yourself around the clock, posting them to Facebook and Instagram more than six times a day.”
(image source: the daily mail)
Extensive research was performed to devise the borderline-acute-chronic scale.
It began with testing focus groups comprised of 200 participants to determine what was the underlying motivation for taking and posting selfies.
Then, researchers tested the scale on 400 participants, refining it to ensure it was accurate and effective.
Published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, the findings were gathered in India—a fitting nation given it has the highest number of Facebook users.
Another startling statistic about India is that it has the highest number of deaths caused by selfies—accounting for 60% of the total number, according to recently published research.
A “selfie-related” death is when someone dies while taking a selfie.
According to the paper’s author, Dr. Mark Griffiths from Nottingham Trent University:
“This study arguably validates the concept of selfitis and provides benchmark data for other researchers to investigate the concept more thoroughly and in different contexts.
“The concept of selfie-taking might evolve over time as technology advances, but the six identified factors that appear to underlie selfitis in the present study are potentially useful in understanding such human-computer interaction across mobile electronic devices.”