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Addiction To Selfies: A Mental Disorder?

Addiction To Selfies: A Mental Disorder?

If you’ve taken up to three selfies today, consider yourself nuts. At least, in the eyes of the American Psychiatric Association and countless others, who are igniting a global movement to recognize that an addiction to selfies can be indicative of a mental disorder.

We all know that certain someone who is intent on capturing every waking moment with a duck-faced selfie. They even have that one specific expression set aside, ready to plaster it on in a whim the very second an iPhone is pulled out.

It never seems concerning until you look through a compiled, endless list of someone’s Instagram selfies – and even then, it could be more funny than worrisome. Now I’m not one to typically draw concern towards trivial matters, especially something that sounds as ridiculous as an addiction to self-portraits.

You’d never expect to learn that Vincent Van Gogh had been considered mentally unstable – oh wait, never mind. I personally never understood the fascination with snapping pictures of myself at every semi-interesting moment of my day – maybe I’m too ugly to consider it.

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It wasn’t until I stumbled onto the story of Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old British teen who exemplifies the worst case scenario of a selfie addiction – living proof that a new vice may currently be emerging. How far did he take his obsession? Snapping over 200 photos a day, he didn’t leave his house for six months, during which time he lost 30 pounds and dropped out of school.

Growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to capture the perfect selfie, he eventually tried to commit suicide. Fortunately, much like his attempts for a picture perfect image, he failed in doing so.

Recently, the American Psychiatric Association actually confirmed that taking selfies is a mental disorder, going as far as to term the condition “selfitis”. The APA has defines it 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”, and has categorized it into three levels: borderline, acute, and chronic.

How extreme is your selfitis? If you find yourself taking up to three selfies a day but not posting them on social media, consider yourself borderline.

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If you’re posting at least three images of yourself a day, that’s acute.

Lastly, if you’re experiencing an uncontrollable urge to take and post up to six photos a day, congratulations – you have chronic selfitis.

Danny fit quite comfortably into the third category, perhaps even deserving his own echelon of selfie insanity.

“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life,” he told the UK Mirror.

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What can we learn from Danny? Well for starters, we live in a society that is provoked into an infinite pursuit of superficial perfection that can never be attained. In a world where people are addicted to plastic surgeries and countless forms of body enhancement (from Goodlife to Sephora), foregoing things like knowledge and experience in their sole focus on living life ostensibly. We’re now at the verge of insanity, if not well over it.

The solution? Psychiatrists treated Danny and others in a similar way they’d treat any addict – minimizing exposure to the addiction and breaking down the dependence on it. What may be called for is a reality check to do away with digital narcissism – to live with social media rather than living through social media.

It seemed rather comical that Danny’s psychiatrists would take his phone away for intervals of time, first for 10 minutes, then for 30 minutes and so forth. Is that really so difficult? But when you pause to think about it, when was the last time you had gone an hour or two (or maybe even 10 minutes) without touching your phone?

I challenge you readers to leave your phone behind the next time you embark on a picture-perfect moment or to do away with posting pictures of every meal on Instagram (seriously?! That’s another issue for another article).

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Speaking on the selfie craze, Benedict Cumberbatch summarizes it well in his comments to Business Standard, “What a tragic waste of engagement. Enjoy the moment. Do something more worthwhile with your time, anything. Stare out the window and think about life”

So if you find yourself snapping away and capturing life through the lens of your camera, add a new perspective. Work to minimize your social media presence, take in the best of life’s moments without the need to seek approval or commentary from others. Live your own life – don’t live before the eyes of others.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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