Selfies are the most commonplace photos on social media. People have made entire careers based on the ‘art’.

The front-facing camera phenomenon has had such an impact on society that research has been done into whether it can be considered a disorder. ‘Selfitis’ is considered a genuine mental condition where people feel a compulsion to constantly take photos of themselves and post them on social media.

Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management confirmed that ‘selfitis’ really exists and they developed a ‘Selfitis Behaviour Scale’ which can be used to assess its severity, reports The Telegraph.


Dr Mark Griffiths, Distinguished 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.

There are three levels of selfitis you can have: borderline, acute, and chronic. Borderline is classed as taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day but not posting them on social media. Acute is taking photos of one’s self at least three times a day and posting each one on social media. Chronic is the 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.

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.

The scale runs from one to 100 and was developed using a large number of focus groups with 300 participants to determine what factors drove the need to take selfies.

The participants chosen for the study were based in India because the country has the most Facebook users, as well as the highest number of deaths as a result of trying to take selfies in dangerous locations.

The results of the study were published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction.

Sir Simon Wessely, Professor of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London, was more skeptical about the proposed new condition, he said:

The research suggests that  people take selfies to improve their mood, draw attention to themselves, increase their self confidence and connect with their environment.

If that is true then this paper is itself an academic ‘selfie’.

Unsurprisingly the researchers found that typical ‘selfitis’ sufferers were massive attention seekers and often lacking in self confidence. The team developed 20 statements which could be used to determine the severity of ‘selfitis’ by rating how much an individual agreed with the sentiment. Examples include ‘I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media’ or ‘When I don’t take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group.’