The obsession to post “selfies” is a genuine mental health condition, scientists at Nottingham Trent University have claimed.
The condition, known as “selfitis”, is defined as an obsession to take photos of one’s self “around the clock” and posting them on social media multiple times a day.
The term was first played with as a spoof story in 2014, but scientists now believe that the condition can have a significant impact on the mental health of those affected.
Dr Mark Griffiths, a professor of Behavioural Addiction in Nottingham Trent University’s Psychology Department, said: “A few years ago, stories appeared in the media claiming that the condition of selfitis was to be classed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
“Whilst 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.”
The researchers rated a large group of people on a sliding scale of one to 100. People who take selfies “at least three times a day” but don’t post them on social media are classed as “borderline cases”, while those in the “acute” phase of selfitis will publish the pictures. The most serious cases involve more six or more posts a day.
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.”