In 2014, a spoof article claimed the American Psychiatric Association had officially classified "selfie" as a mental disorder.
It was a joke then — but not anymore.
Researchers claim people who are obsessed with clicking photos of themselves with their smartphones may have a may have a genuine mental disorder called "selfitis."
Psychologists Mark D. Griffiths and Janarthanan Balakrishnan, from Nottingham Trent University and Thiagarajar School of Management respectively, have published a joint study in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, in which they argue that selfitis is a real condition.
They examined 400 people from India — home to the world's most Facebook users — and produced a "Selfitis Behaviour Scale," listing factors that might help diagnose the problem as well as assess its severity.
There are at least three levels of the condition: a) borderline, in which a person takes at least three selfies but doesn't post them on the internet, b) acute, in which an individual clicks the selfies and also posts them on social media and c) chronic, a category that includes people who take at selfies all the time and post some of them at least six times online.
“Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to 'fit in' with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviors," Balakrishnan said.
“Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behavior, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected.”
While the research has just been published, selfies have already established themselves as a problematic and even fatal phenomenon, as people have actually died in their quest to take the perfect self-portrait. Selfies have caused people to drown, fall from heights, get shot, hit by a train and even led to the deaths of endangered animals.