Mendi Baron -What Is The Selfie Syndrome?


Ok, so there is no such thing as a selfie syndrome (yet), but recent research has found that there might be such a thing as an addiction to taking selfies. In fact, when a hoax website published an article claiming that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) had classed a mental illness called “selfitis,” many news outlets thought that the information was real and republished it. It comes as no surprise that many people believed the data to be accurate. After all, almost everywhere you look you can see someone posing while holding a phone in front of her or his face. They even invented special sticks which allow people to take better selfies.

Dr. Mark Griffiths, who conducted a study on selfie addiction states: “Our study began by using focus group interviews with 225 young adults with an average age of 21 years old to gather an initial set of criteria that underlie selfitis. Example questions used during the focus group interviews included ‘What compels you to take selfies?’, ‘Do you feel addicted to taking selfies?’ And ‘Do you think that someone can become addicted to taking selfies?’. It was during these interviews that participants confirmed there appeared to be individuals who obsessively take selfies —or, in other words, that selfitis does at least exist. But, since we did not collect any data on the negative psychosocial impacts, we cannot yet claim that the behavior is a mental disorder; negative consequences of the behavior is a key part of that determination.”

So, what does this information give us? A heads up. Even though a selfie addiction might not be a determined disorder now if you find yourself spending too much time thinking about taking your picture in different environments or different poses and angles you might be treading addiction territories. Additionally, selfies are posted to social media which creates a broad platform for receiving feedback and that further increases the chances of addiction.

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Apart from this, an article in the Huffington Post states the finding of a study by the University of Michigan: “Researchers at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found in 2013 that college-aged and middle-aged adults who scored higher for certain narcissistic traits posted more frequently on social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.” So, narcissistic people have an even higher chance of becoming selfies addicts.

All in all, as with most of the addictions, it is important to be aware of the risks and keep track of your behavior. If you catch yourself taking a bunch of selfies everywhere, and then spending a lot of time picking the best ones you are a selfie addict, and it’s time to deal with this brand new 21st-century form of addiction.

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Mendi is a passionate advocate for teens and young adults in the fields of mental health and addiction. Baron creates programs to bring a unique approach to the treatment of adolescents and young adults who are struggling with a variety of emotional and behavioral disorders and substance abuse issues. Clinically trained, Baron earned a BA with honors in psychology and social work at the University of Maryland and an MSW at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. His extensive experience as a therapist includes individual and group counseling for children, adolescents, and families in various settings.  Gaining insight and experience, he has worked at several treatment centers including the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development, the Carroll County Youth Services Bureau, Chabad Crisis Centers, and the Center for Discovery and Adolescent Change. Before launching Ignite Teen Treatment, Mendi conceived and built, from the ground up, multiple successful, high end adolescent residential and outpatient programs in Los Angeles.

Mendi has appeared on the Dr. Phil show, is regularly featured in mental health and addiction publications, and speaks around the country in person and on Tv/Radio on these topics. With his newest ventures, Mendi instills a rare blend of energy, creativity, and experience to the treatment of teens, young adults, and their families struggling with addiction and mental health issues. The son of a Rabbi, eldest of 11 children, is a part-time rock musician, boxer, cantor, and father of three.

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