Taking selfies and uploading on social media is very popular and there doesn’t seem to be an issue with it. However, before you take that next selfie for the gram, two psychologists say selfies may be a sign of mental illness.


In 2014, a news article used the word ‘selfitis’, saying that the American Psychiatric Association was going to start recognising it as a real disorder.

In a paper published in the International Journal of Mental Health, Mark D. Griffiths and Janarthanan Balakrishnan argued that selfitis is a real condition and can be diagnosed as excessive selfie taking.

They also developed a “Selfitis Behaviour Scale” by surveying the selfie behaviour of 400 participants from India. The scale assesses the severity of the condition, of which there are three levels.


A borderline case is when someone takes selfies at least three times a day but they don’t post them on any social media platform.

The next level is acute, which means they post the selfies and the chronic stage is when people cannot control the urge to take photos of themselves — snapping up at least six selfie posts a day.

“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,” Balakrishnan said.


“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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