British-born Danny Bowman is a self-confessed selfie addict who is currently receiving therapy to treat his emotionally destructive 10-hour-a-day photo taking habit.
The 19-year-old – who attempted suicide after failing to get the perfect selfie shot after 200 takes – is believed to be the UK’s first selfie addict, and his case has sparked concern among a number of public health officials who fear the craze is linked to mental health conditions.
London-based psychiatrist, Dr David Veal said: “Danny’s case is particularly extreme, but this is a serious problem. It’s not a vanity issue. It’s a mental health one which has an extremely high suicide rate.”
He added: “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 selfies.”
Dr Veal explained selfie addiction can be caused by anything from low self-esteem to problems with bullying, and that treatment typically involves helping the patient to distance themselves from the urge to take a photograph.
Danny has so far been weaned off his iPhone and has not taken a selfie for seven months. He does however have a long way to go before his technology addiction, OCD and Body Dysmorphic Disorder sees improvement.
Speaking about his treatment he said: “It was excruciating to begin with but I knew I had to do it if I wanted to go on living.”
Elected as ‘Word of the Year’ in 2013, ‘selfie’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a Smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
It is a craze that has taken over social media in the past five years, with stars, politicians and even religious leaders posting informal, intimate shots online. Last year it was reported that its frequency of use had soared 17,000% in just 12 months.