Health Team

Like taking selfies? You could have a problem, study suggests

Posted May 9, 2018 5:07 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2018 3:34 p.m. EDT

— For many people, posting "selfies" is a way to boost their mood or to play a game of comparison, but a recent study suggests that taking too many photos of one's self could be a gateway to addiction.

Dr. Scott Bea, a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, says people who are addicted to the photos may respond to the rush of portraying a perfect life.

"It ends up having to do with our brain chemistry," he said. "I  think people are trying to treat their brain (and) stimulate positive  chemistry. There's a social comparison thing  going on on  the  internet  as  well.  We look at other people  –  they're having great  lives (so) I want to look like I'm having a great  life, so I post my best moments ."

Bea said researchers found that a group of students who take selfies fit into six categories: self confident, attention seeking, mood modification, environmental enhancement, conformity and social competition.

Researchers say a better understanding of the evolving nature of technology may help us learn how overusing it can lead to addictive behaviors.

Bea said "mood boosting" and "self confidence" are the most common goals of those who take selfies.

Researchers, however, say the risk is becoming too self aware, which heightens negative feelings that can lead to possible unhealthy remedies.

Another study links the distorted selfie close-up photos with an uptick in people seeking plastic surgery to correct perceived deformities.

Bea recommends that people stay away from their cell phones for extended periods of time to regain control over their phones and their lives.

"When we're getting involved with our emotional brain, it really overrides our pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that helps (us) make good decisions and plan and predict the future (and project the) consequences of our behaviors," Bea said. "You've got to make these decisions about how we're using technology, phones, taking  pictures (and) posting  ourselves.