Scientists Link Selfies To Narcissism, Addiction & Mental Illness…

When it comes to taking selfies, no one can say that they’ve never taken one as it has become a global trend. Many consider it as a harmless act, but as any other internet trend, it can go downhill and seriously affect our health.

As a trend, selfies started few years ago, and each year their popularity escalated quickly. But, according to researches this seemingly harmless act can indicate mental disorder.

“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,” said psychiatrist Dr David Veal. “Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help patients to understand the reasons for their compulsive behaviour and then to learn how to treat it.”

Body Dismorphic Disorder

The characteristics of Body Dismorphic Disorder or BDD (a mental disorder) include obsessive focus on a perceived appearance or a flaw. People who suffer from BDD often tend to compare their appearance with the one of the others.

A story that made headlines is the one of Danny Bowman, a British teenager who became virtually obsessed with taking selfies and posting them on Facebook and Instagram.

According to Addiction,

“BDD can lead people to feel so distressed and ashamed of their appearance that they seclude themselves from society. During his cycle of compulsive selfie-taking, Bowman dropped out of school and rarely went outside for six months. He also lost 15 pounds in an effort to make himself happier with his appearance and to improve his self-portraits.”


According to a study conducted at Ohio State University, men who take selfies more than others scored much higher on measures of narcissism.

People who suffer from a narcissistic personality disorder usually lack empathy for others, have an unreasonably high sense of importance, and desperately seek admiration from others.

Moreover, these men were notably editing their photos before posting them on social media  in order to make them appear more attractive.

According to Psych Central,

 “It’s not surprising that men who post a lot of selfies and spend more time editing them are more narcissistic, but this is the first time it has actually been confirmed in a study,” said Jesse Fox, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.


A study conducted in Ohio discovered that apart from narcissism, taking selfies can be also linked to psychopathy. Posting numerous selfies is very close to higher narcissism and psychopathy.

According to this study, those who suffer from psychopathy lack  empathy and impulsivity. Those scoring high in psychopathy are very likely to agree with statements such as “Payback needs to be quick and nasty.”

The results of this study showed that posting more selfies was linked to psychopathy, but not editing the photos was associated with narcissism.

According to Psychology Today, the researcher explained,

“That makes sense because psychopathy is characterized by impulsivity,” the study’s lead author, Jesse Fox, said. “They are going to snap the photos and put them online right away. They want to see themselves. They don’t want to spend time editing.”