Too Many Selfies: A Disorder?

selfiesA recent news article was published that reported how the American Psychiatric Association has classified taking too many selfies as a new mental disorder.[1] The problem? It isn’t true!1 Too many people don’t stop to check what kind of website they are one, leading thousands of people to tweet, share, and post links to the fake news article.1 So, from a trusted source, don’t worry—taking too many selfies is definitely not a mental disorder.1

What are selfies? Selfies are photographs a person takes of oneself, usually with a mobile phone.1 They’ve become all the rage since the advent of smartphones with a front-facing camera.1 It makes taking a self-portrait in the moment easy to do.1

The fake news article was published on a parody news website called “The Onion.”1 It’s a site of satire, poking fun at political and entertainment topics—not meant to take seriously, but instead for a laugh.1 The article said:1

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has officially confirmed what many people thought all along: taking ‘selfies’ is a mental disorder.

The APA made this classification during its annual board of directors meeting in Chicago. The disorder is called selfitis, and is defined 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.

Mania broke out. However, the American Psychiatric Association only updates its list of official diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). It’s a lengthy process—not something decided at a board meeting.1

However, this leaves many to question whether or not “selfitis” will be a future disorder.1 Is there any research being done on this phenomenon?1 The answer is: no.1 PsychINFO, the psychology research database, returned not a single search result for the term “selfie,” meaning not a single research study has been published yet on this phenomenon.1

As the DSM is only updated upon evidence of a large and confirmatory research base, it is highly unlikely that we will see a disorder called “selfitis” in the next few decades.1 For many people, there is really no harm in taking too many photographs of oneself.1 So, don’t worry—celebrate with a new selfie.

[1] Grohol, J. (2014). Taking Too Many Selfies? Don’t Worry, It’s Not a Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/05/28/taking-too-many-selfies-dont-worry-its-not-a-disorder/

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