Social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are becoming more and more popular. It’s caused many people to become obsessed with taking perfect selfies. When someone takes a selfie, they try to find a good angle that can show their best features, and they spend time looking for the proper effect.
But, many psychiatrists claim that selfies are more dangerous than people think. People do not realize that when they post a selfie on their social media profiles, it can so fast spiral out of control. It can become a mission to get approval and it can contribute to self-destruction.
So, selfies are associated with mental illnesses that focus on one’s obsession with their looks. They may create a generation of narcissists. They are associated with addition and mental disorders. They may cause perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence, which may lead to either low self-esteem or narcissism.
These narcissistic manifestations might boil down to people who want to compensate for their low self-esteem, but when these efforts are rewarded and reinforced by other people, they may trigger a distortion of reality and narcissistic delusions.
Doctor David Veal is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Psychology, King’s College London and a Consultant Psychiatrist at The Priory Hospital North London and the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. According to Dr. Veal, 2 out of 3 of all the patients that come to see him with BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) have a constant urge to take and post selfies on their social media profiles.
Dr. Veal points to an extreme case — patient Danny Bowman — a British male teenager that allegedly became the United Kingdom’s first selfie addict, because he was so obsessed with taking the perfect selfie. The teenager was so desperate to attract girls that he spent up to ten hours per day taking many selfies.
He just wanted to take the perfect selfie. He stopped attending school, lost about 30 pounds, stayed in his house for 6 months and had a bad relationship with his parents.
He also did something truly shocking — something no one expected. He tried to commit suicide, because he failed to take the flawless selfie. Luckily, he was saved by his mother. He had therapy to treat his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and technology addiction.
He lost his education, his friends, his health and almost his life is his quest for the perfect selfie.
According to Dr. Veal, Bowman’s case is particularly extreme. However, it is actually a serious problem. It isn’t a vanity issue. It is a mental illness that has an extremely high suicide rate.
Check out the infographic below to learn more about the harmful effects of being obsessed with taking the perfect selfie: