Taking selfies has almost become ritualistic in modern culture. Whether it be during a social gathering or private confidence boost, selfie culture is here to stay. Along with it, however, are also subtle repercussions that have slowly revealed damaging effects on the mental health of young women.
New research across the globe suggests anxiety and even depression can be side effects of a new kind of addiction: the selfie addiction.
Women are at a higher risk than men
According to the National Health Service, at least a quarter of women ages 16 to 24 are currently experiencing symptoms of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. They are three times as likely to do so compared to men.
Experts fear that selfie culture combined with young women’s insecurities could be at fault. Young women are more likely to be victims of online bullying and crumble against pressures to look like the glamorous, heavily edited pictures of women they see posted on social media.
A selfie obsession
Addiction often begins with a specific obsession, which is why “selfie culture” can be so damaging for young women. As people selectively create a carefully curated veneer of themselves for people to see, it’s easy to get addicted to the attention generated from a simple ‘Like:’ “If I feel pretty, I take one,” Maryland native Paris, 23, told Teen Vogue in 2013. “When other people Like it, it’s a mini boost of confidence.”
“Selfie addiction” is not an official disorder yet. However, health organizations in the UK and the Americas are documenting soaring cases of addiction-like, selfie-derived anxiety and depression.
Are you addicted to taking selfies?
Indicators for selfie-related addiction and anxiety may include:
- Constantly thinking about your social image
- Spending extensive hours on taking selfies on a regular basis
- Feelings of panic or extreme frustration or dis-satisfaction from shots
- Extensive fear or unnecessary worrying over losing followers
- Obsession with tracking number of likes or followers
- Going through extreme physical procedures like plastic surgery for the sake of producing a good photo
- Abandonment of personal obligations like work or family to take selfies.
Social media and selfie culture do present positive benefits to modern living as long as they are handled in moderation. They are platforms for which the world is more deeply intertwined. Social media and even selfies empower regular people to create movements and change culture.
It’s important to make sure you are setting a positive example for the young women in your life. Selfies aren’t a bad thing – as long as they’re used and viewed in a positive way. And if you are a young woman struggling to come to terms with the way you look in photos, keep in mind that most of the models you see on Instagram don’t actually look like that in real life.
Did you know an addiction can be caused by a mental disorder?
One of the primary reasons that mental disorders and substance abuse so often go hand-in-hand is that drugs and alcohol can provide an escape from the pressures of mental health problems. Self-medicating is surprisingly common: you’re not alone.
But unlike real, effective, long-term solutions, such as medication and detoxification in a treatment center, drugs and alcohol won’t amount to effective treatment.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from addiction, then take our free 3 minute assessment.