Over a period of time, technological advancement has given us new addiction disorders. Last two decades were known for computer addiction disorder and internet addiction disorders. Smartphone has intruded in our daily life so much that without which we cannot survive. Many of today generation smartphones are equipped with high resolution camera, we call it “selfie” camera. Though people were fond of taking photographs of their own and others since many decades, with selfie camera it has lead to an extreme effect. It is coupled with posting the selfie photographs (selfie) on social networking sites. Further they are waiting for comments of friends and others. This has lead to chain of reactions leading to a complex addiction disorder which we may easily call as Selfie addiction disorder. Oxford English Dictionary had described “Selfie” as word of the year in 2013 (Wade, 2014).
First and foremost question is “does it fit in the criteria of addiction”. The answer is yes as well as no. Yes because it leads to chain of reactions as described above which classically fits in the criteria of addiction. The answer is no as there is no proper definition/ diagnostic criteria of this addiction. Also we do not have any DSM criteria for the same. What the literature search says? On searching Pubmed (National Library of Medicine Database), it showed only 5 articles using the word “selfie”. None of them were related to this issue. Searching Cochrane Database also resulted in no relevant scientific study. What it means to us? There are no scientific articles or research done on this issue. Though search using Google Search Engine results in million of web pages on this issue, Can we still call it as addiction?
Scientific community all over the world has to come together and come to some kind of conclusion at the earliest. Almost all internet users or smartphone phone users have landed up for a selfie at some point of time. Are we going to call all of them as addicted? Can we have some kind of limit criteria for it? I propose anything more than 3-5 selfies in a day may be considered as a disease even if not posted on social networking sites. If posting on social networking sites is considered, I will prefer to reduce the number to even 3 per day or lesser. On the basis of amount of time, I will propose that more than 5 minutes per selfie or more than 30 minutes per day may be considered as disease. On the basis of expectations of the peoples comment, anything more than 2 times logging in a social networking site for comments may be considered as disease. This should be regular activity for almost all days. Where phenomenon is not a regular one, the individual needs further observation and reassessment after some time. There is also possibility that selfie addiction disorder may be associated/co-existing with many other psychiatric or mental disorders. Evaluation and management of those will complicate the matter.
What are we going to do after diagnosis? As described earlier, no scientific management of selfie is available. Probably some kind of behavioural therapy or counselling may help. Stoping somebody using a smartphone may be unnecessary overdone step. It may be required only in extreme cases. It is almost next to impossible to have a decent smartphone without selfie camera or camera.