The Psychology Behind The #Selfie

This just in: selfies and narcissism are linked.

Before you start shouting “No sh*t” at your computer screen, check out the latest story on smartphone selfies.

According to psychiatrist Dr. David Veal, people who post non-stop self portraits via social media are obsessed with their looks.

“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 selfies,” Veal told the Sunday Mirror. “Cognitive behavioural therapy is used to help a patient to recognise the reasons for his or her compulsive behaviour and then to learn how to moderate it.”

Veal points to an extreme case, 19-year-old Danny Bowman, who allegedly spent up to 10 hours a day taking hundreds of selfies in an attempt to capture the perfect photo. The British young man stopped attending school, lost weight, was house-bound for six months and fought with his parents. Eventually, Bowman attempted suicide.

Public health officials in the U.K. announced that addiction to social media such as Facebook and Twitter is an illness and more than 100 patients seek treatment every year.

Dr. Pamela Rutledge also weighs in on the psychology behind a selfie.

“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 low self-esteem,” Rutledge told Psychology Today.

According to TIME, psychiatrists are beginning to consider a compulsion to take selfies “as a serious mental health problem.”

Clinical psychologist Lucie Hemmen has also talked about the obsession with self images.

“There’s a continuum of health and authenticity in what you shoot and post,” she said. “A secure, mature person is going to post selfies that are spontaneous and not overly engineered or edited, and they’re going to do it less often. A more insecure person is going to post staged or sexualized photos, and they’re going to do it so much that they become consumed by it and the comments they receive.”

What do you think about selfies?

With selfie-obsessed celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus and Miranda Kerr, it seems the duck-faced photos are everywhere.

MORE: What Can We Learn From Today’s Role Models?

For the high-profile celebs who enjoy showing off their beautiful booties and perfect features in selfies, I really don’t get it.  Aren’t you captured by the greatest professional photographers in the world? Why share these low-res images when we can see you in every magazine and online publication?

And for my friends who share selfies on social media, please just keep it to date nights, fun events, travel pics and cute kid moments.


I’m pretty sure I speak for most ‘normal’ social media users when I say that daily selfies are, pretty much, the most annoying thing on the planet.

MORE: Facebook Etiquette: 5 Simple Rules For Not Annoying Your Friends

What are your thoughts on selfies?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *