Smart phones are connecting us more so than we’ve ever been connected. In a day, you can chat with your grandma, pay your bills, order a pizza, and get a hot date all with your smart phone. But like every cool invention, there’s probably a downside.
“Two out of three of all the patients who come to see me with Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites,” says Dr. David Veal, a psychologist.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help a patient to recognize the reasons for his or her compulsive behavior and then to learn how to moderate it,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
So is it possible that selfies cause mental illness, addiction, and suicide? Some psychologists say yes. They warn parents to watch their children closely and observe what they do online.
A British teen attempted suicide after he failed to take what he considered the perfect selfie. Danny Bowman was so obsessed he spent up to 10 hours a day taking more than 200 selfies. The 19-year-old lost 30 pounds, dropped out of school, and didn’t leave his home for six months. He eventually tried to overdose, but was saved by his mother.
“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life,” he told The Mirror.
Bowman checked himself into the Maudsley Hospital in London for treatment. He had his iPhone taken away for 10 minute intervals, then 30, then an hour. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s how you deal with addiction.
“It was excruciating to begin with but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to go on living,” he told the Sunday Mirror.
“Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self-indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t spectre of either narcissism or very low self-esteem,” wrote Pamela Rutledge in Psychology Today.