Selfitis: A Mental Disorder or Fake News?


What is a healthy amount of posts? How do we measure the mental health of a user? In selfies?

Many people and experts in the mental health field are currently asking themselves these questions. There are unusual cases of teenagers and young adults succumbing to a supposed 21st century psychological disorder named “Selfitis.”

But how do you classify taking too many selfies as a mental disorder? I did some research on the topic, and found several articles dedicated to the so-called selfie mental disorder. One article went so far as to claim that the American Psychiatric Association had classified the disorder.

The articles states:

“APA said there are three levels of the disorder:

  • Borderline selfitis : taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media
  • Acute selfitis: taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each of the photos on social media
  • Chronic selfitis: Uncontrollable urge to take photos of one’s self  round the clock and posting the photos on social media more than six times a day”

This simply isn’t true. I went to the American Psychiatric Association to take a look for myself and this is what they have to say:

“No, selfitis is not in the DSM-5, but there are plenty of real mental disorders that need and deserve treatment.No, selfitis is not in the DSM-5, but there are plenty of real mental disorders that need and deserve treatment.”

Other articles don’t acknowledge “Selfitis” as its own disorder, but instead choose to list a number of already APA classified disorders to shed some light on what could possibly lead to a selfie addiction.

I believe it’s extremely difficult to state one way or the other given our cultural emphasis on selfies. Many of the newer social media platforms such as Snap Chat and Instagram appear to have been created as a celebration of selfie culture, and are being utilized by users as a way to show the world which side is their best side much like the Icon of the selfie; Kim Kardashian West.

Given that we all supposedly want to be like the Kardashians, or at least “keep up” with them as their show’s title suggests, perhaps our psychological analyzing efforts are better suited in identifying what disorders they have.  Which I am sure many people have already done.

Whether or not the Kardashian family has a genetic infestation of personality disorders is beside the point. “Selfitis” is a cultural phenomenon that appears to be generational. To paint all Millennials with the same psychological brush would be the equivalent of labeling all hippies stoners. And to my knowledge, there is no psychological disorder for loving weed.






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2 Responses to Selfitis: A Mental Disorder or Fake News?

  1. Pol Pinoy says:

    Ironically, the article about “selfitis” you mentioned is satire 🙂

  2. sydhavely says:

    Agreed that “selfitis” may not qualify as a psychiatric disorder, although the Kardashians may (just kidding). My wife is addicted to the show and I’m sure she is not alone in the need to “keep up,” but I fail that test. I was a huge fan of Bruce Jenner as a kid. I thought he was just the best. So I used to peek at a few episodes when he was in them. But now as Caitlin I don’t believe he’s featured as much. I think the family is at best dysfunctional, although very rich, which may be Kris’s main mission. They represent, to me at least, a need for celebrity and how shallow it is oftentimes facilitated in large part by social media. I can’t imagine spending a day with any of them much less being a spouse or boyfriend.

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