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Author: Justin Mckibben
What kind of selfie do you usually snap? Is it one with an obscene amount of editing to look glamorous? Is it one of you and the family at dinner or out in some exotic location on vacation? Or is it a pic of you and a volunteer crew at a charity event? When you hashtag and share it, what does that selfie say about you? What is the message you are trying to send?
Before we have talked about the dangers of obsessive selfie taking, and I have personally related to how the ‘selfie society’ of today could be risky for those struggling with addiction or mental health concerns, presenting issues with narcissism or relating to depression when correlated an obsession with social media. So what kind of selfies contribute to these issues?
Well, that much might be said about all of them, depending on who you ask. The one question that might hit closer to home is- what kind of selfie taker are you?
Recent a group of BYU communications master’s students, feeling themselves surrounded by the selfie-saturated culture that is social media, decided to ask the question: what is the method to the selfie madness? This has proven to not just be a millennial problem, because your uncle and aunt do it, just like your bosses and teachers. Grandma might not be all that good at it, but she takes plenty of selfies anyway.
So why do people of all ages, cultures, genders and religions take and share selfies?
Are We All Narcissists?
Some people would say that ‘this generation’ is so self-absorbed, but again; it isn’t just one group. The answer, at least one we hear so often, is simply narcissism. But are we all narcissists?
Naaaaaaah, can’t be.
Actually, in a study recently published in Visual Communication Quarterly, those same five BYU student researchers took a closer look. In their data they show that individuals’ motives often range far past self-obsession. Sometimes our selfies are actually taken with purpose, whether we notice or not.
Steven Holiday, who completed his master’s in 2015 and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, is one of the co-authors. Of this latest topic Holiday states,
“It’s important to recognize that not everyone is a narcissist,”
So to be clear on the idea of true narcissism and the connection we often misguidedly make to selfies, we should look at the definition. To refresh your memory:
- Narcissism is defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.
- Narcissistic personality disorder(NPD) – is a condition that is estimated to affect only 1% of the population.
After analyzing survey results and interviews, researchers say they can identify three categories of selfie-takers:
These are individuals who take selfies primarily to engage with others for some reason. They don’t just do it for their face on a cause, but to draw followers into a conversation. One of the survey’s co-authors and current student Maureen “Mo” Elinzano states,
“They’re all about two-way communication,”
So it isn’t about the spotlight on them, it’s about shining to give others a reason to shine.
An example of this is when the election season came around and everyone, including celebrities, took an “I voted” selfie to plaster on Instagram. These photos aren’t (always) meant to brag about the individual, they are about calling others to action. People talk a lot about opinions on social media, so some people take a selfie as an opportunity to inspire action.
This type of selfie taker uses the art of the selfie as a tool to record key events in their lives. This autobiography isn’t necessarily to show off to their followers, but to try and preserve significant memories for themselves and their loved ones.
This group of selfie takers does also want others to see their photos and enjoy them, but they aren’t necessarily doing it for the feedback. They are cataloging their lives for their own benefit, not for the engagement that the Communicators are.
For example, plenty of people will have entire albums on Facebook dedicated to specific trips or events. They don’t (always) organize these specifically for likes as much as they do for their trips down memory lane.
This infamous category is the one everyone typically assumes a selfie taker falls into, but it is actually the smallest of the three groups. These are the ones who are closely linked to more narcissistic characteristics.
The coauthor Harper Anderson states the self-publicists “are the people who love documenting their entire lives,”
Harper Anderson, who is also now pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech, went on to say that in recording and sharing their entire lives, these selfie takers are hoping to present their narrative in a trendy and desirable light.
Think the Kardashians. Without any real sustenance, these selfies are just for the sake of “look at me everyone” without actually having a connection to a cause.
Personally, I present the idea of a collage style world where sometimes we blur these lines a bit. Some people may read these three types and say “I do all of these” and I get that. Perhaps we are all likely to have varied traits, but perhaps we can admit that one of these styles is our dominant selfie taking self. In this event, we can more closely examine if we are impacting our mental health; maybe even that of others.
Holiday went on to describe that identifying and categorizing the three groups is valuable in part because-
“…it’s a different kind of photography than we’ve ever experienced before…I can go on Facebook or Instagram and see that people have a desire to participate in a conversation. It’s an opportunity for them to express themselves and get some kind of return on that expression.”
Another co-author Matt Lewis states
“…years from now, our society’s visual history is going to be largely comprised of selfies. To find out why people do it, that contributes a lot to the discussion on selfies and visual communication in general.”
Our world isn’t just one picture at a time. Every moment is a collage of events happens simultaneously. We exchange the currency of our stories through an ever-expanding network of social media sites and while at times we may seem obsessive or impulsive, at least we are trying to use our new tools to connect.
It may seem strange, but I do think that regardless of whether you’re climbing a mountain in Africa, raising awareness for people struggling somewhere, or simply showing off your new hair-cut, we all have something to offer.
We all have something worth sharing.
Take that selfie. Post it. Let the “double tap” fall where it may.
The selfie is like a socially accepted addiction, and while mental health has been a close conversation to it, we hope that we can continue to learn from our compulsions and be able to help others. Mental health issues and drug or alcohol abuse frequently co-exist. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Let’s talk about Pokémon Go, why not? Considering literally everyone else in the world is, why shouldn’t we get in on the action? Ever since this new phenomenon has hit the streets in the form of an interactive smartphone app that is quickly consuming the lives of customers all over America there have been some pretty intense stories. It seems the game is probably one of the most instantaneously addictive things on the market right now, so of course it brings to mind previous conversations on:
I can personally say I was pretty amused when my roommate stumbled out of his room at 2 AM in his underwear chasing invisible creatures through the apartment via his phone like a mad man…
Apparently, there is some rare breed of something hiding in my closet… but I digress…
People have become obsessed overnight with this game. It seems any time you walk into a room with anyone around the age of… being alive… you are going to be an obstacle in their mission of hunting some pixelated Pokémon. Some people are worried about how obsessed people have become. Others insist it has done wonders for their mental health. So I wanted to take a look at some of these interesting theories.
What is it?
Essentially Pokémon Go is a game based on a Nintendo-owned franchise that was especially popular in the late 1990’s. This new smartphone game uses a phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when people are in the game. Then it makes Pokémon “appear” around you.
No, not literally… but you can see them through your phone camera on the screen… so basically real life, right?
The idea is to go and catch them. Different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is.
First let us say that many of these claims can’t be fully legitimized at this time. However, Twitter users seem confident in what they see happening with others and experiencing themselves regarding mental health and Pokémon Go. One Twitter user put it as:
“Pokémon Go is literally making people with depression and anxiety and agoraphobia leave the house and explore and socialize.”
Which when you examine the nature of the game does actually make some sense. Pokémon Go requires users to go into the outside world and explore to find Pokémon and items.
Many players have said that the game gives them an incentive to get out of the house and be active. It inspires some to exercise and spend time outdoors, while having fun and interacting with others. Now if you look at it this way, how could it not do some good for mental health?
I honestly had to wonder this myself when the game was first announced. As I watched co-workers and friends wonder aimlessly through parking lots and gather together to share their latest catches, I figured this was giving us a new way to get outside more and get active with one another. Maybe it’s not so bad, right?
Then there is the argument of if the trade-off is worth it for having teens and young adults yet again dragged too deep into their phones. This concern also makes sense to me. If you have this new obsession with constantly striving to “catch em all” then how will your personal relationships and responsibilities suffer? I don’t know anyone personally, but you can be sure a few people have already lost their jobs or blown off their dates to chase Pikachu around a grocery store.
Pokémon Related Injury
This is one side-effect I definitely saw coming, but I was not aware of the magnitude that it might manifest in. Already Pokémon– related injuries are being reported all over the country. So many people have admitted in social media forums that they completely forgot where they were, dropping all focus on their surroundings.
One Reddit user’s story has made the rounds online about ending up in the ER on night after falling into a ditch and fracturing bones in their foot 30 minutes into playing the game. There are even accounts of drivers getting into traffic accidents because they were playing the game out the window while driving.
To be fair, the makers of the game did make a warning to be aware of surroundings.
Risky Rocket Business
This should be taken as a serious warning if nothing else. The game has been notably misused already. Police in O’Fallon, Missouri have reported four people suspected of armed robberies involving Pokémon Go. The suspects reportedly placed beacons, which are a feature available in the game to interact with the surroundings, to lure people to their locations where they robbed them. 11 teenagers have been mugged this way so far, according to this initial report.
So #TeamRocket is becoming an actual thing… and they are freaking people out. Is this gaming addiction really that serious? Do people really need to risk their lives, or the lives of others, for these imaginary monsters?
Most Addictive App Ever?
Some are already calling Pokémon Go the most addictive gaming app ever. It has experienced a number of technical issues since its launch, including server crashes and other issues. Still, for a FREE gaming app with all this hype, it is doing pretty well for itself. Looking back there was Pokémon Blue and other titles for the franchise. People have been working their way up to this all along.
The question remains- what could this do for people’s mental health? If it really is that addictive, what consequences will it reap on those who have a tendency of taking things too far? Will we see a spike in gaming addiction and obsessive behaviors? Or will it actually have a mixed impact as it lures people out of their homes and into their communities. Some surprising testimonies have told how random strangers in a community come together, united over the teams they choose and to make strategies for how to play.
So next time you see someone blindly following their phone into on-coming traffic… maybe they are just trying to track down a Evee or a Squirtle? Maybe you should save them from themselves and keep them on the sidewalk… or some of you will probably hope to have the Pokémon to yourself… FOR SHAME!
Addiction can involve behaviors not related to taking drugs or drinking excessively. You can be addicted to the internet, gaming, gambling, sex, eating, or any other behavior that is causing problems in your life, such as destroying relationships, your health, or interfering with your job. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call us at 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Pornography Addiction: Is it real?
Currently, porn addiction is not a diagnosis listed in DSM-5. “Viewing online pornography” is mentioned in the diagnostic manual but, it is not considered a mental disorder either.
The current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) now includes a section for behavioral addictions; however, includes only one such disorder: pathological gambling, or gambling addiction (also compulsive gambling). Also as it stands right now, there is only one other behavioral addiction proposed for further study in the DSM-5, and that is internet gaming disorder. Due to a lack of research, porn addiction is not currently being considered an addition to this ‘behavioral addiction’ section of the manual.
Pornography Addiction: XXX Edition
Although not recognized as a real disorder at the time of this writing, there are many people out there who would argue that viewing porn can – and does – become an addiction for some.
Let’s break down what we understand about porn addiction.
Identifying an porn addict
Again, although not recognized in the DSM-5, therapists are beginning to take the condition seriously when it comes to their practices. Further, it can be argued that porn addiction is as real as any other in that the same criteria used for determining whether someone is addicted to porn are much the same as the ones used to identify other addictions. These criteria mainly revolve around the dependence on the behavior or substance (in this case, pornography) at the expense of other aspects of life.
For instance, if your viewing, reading, or thinking about pornography is negatively impacting your life, interfering with your work, your personal relationships, your family life, and/or your social interactions, it has become a problem.
Some porn addicts can’t perform sexually without the stimulation of pornography and often build a up a tolerance, similarly to that which occurs with drug addiction. Porn addiction may be a part of a more extensive sex addiction.
Five Stages of Porn Addiction
- Early exposure
Most people who become addicted to porn have been exposed to it at an early age. They see the stuff when they are very young, making an impression. This can be the beginning of certain obsessions and fetishes.
After a while, you start to look for more and more graphic porn. You start using porn that would have disgusted you when you started. Now, it’s something that excites you.
Eventually, you become numb. Even the most graphic, degrading porn doesn’t excite you anymore. You become desperate to feel the same thrill again but can’t find it. Again, this is similar to drug addiction in that you are chasing that ‘high’ you used to get earlier on in your porn use.
- Acting out sexually
At this point, you might make the dangerous leap to start acting out sexually on your specific fantasies. Basically, at this point, your sexual obsessions have moved from porn magazines and porn web sites out into the real world.
This is basically been developing all along. But now, you’re experiencing full-blown porn addiction. You keep going back to porn; it’s the only thing that gets you off. Porn becomes a regular part of your life. You’re hooked. You don’t feel like you can quit.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction or a behavioral addiction, help is available. Many times, people with a history of addiction replace their previous addictions with other obsessions. This is common. But help is available in the form of specialized treatment designed to address the underlying issues of an addiction, or multiple addictions. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
As technology advances and as our thoughts and actions as a society focus more and more on social media and staying connected through technology, many have alluded to the idea that people are slowly but surely become the catalyst for a new addiction. You would think this a parody, but it is a scary truth that there is actually a specific sidewalk out there designed for ‘texters’, showing the dependence on cell-phones like a drug is a concept that typically flies under the radar, and even though a lot of people joke about it, the cellphone addiction may be as real as real life. We are literally beginning to adjust our environment to sustain the need to stay in constant communication and keep our every idea and action in circulation through apps and texts.
Texting and Walking?
We are already being reminded pretty consistently to put away our smartphones when we are driving around, but there are very few warnings when it comes to being so deeply immersed in them, which is pretty much all the time, when we walk around. Now Chongqing City in China has actually come up with a innovative and truly hilarious way to highlight the growing issue. The city has actually created a special ‘texters’‘lane!
The 50-meter (165-foot) stretch of pavement is divided into two halves for maximum walking efficiency. One lane appropriately labeled “cell phones, walk at your own risk” and the other lane marked “no cell phones”, is located at the city’s Foreigner Street. Now given Foreigner Street is a theme park that is known for its strange and unique collection of “all the best of what ain’t from China“. So this newest addition is not too much out of character for the area.
According to the officials who had the formidable task of painting the two lanes in mid-September, they got the idea from a similar experiment that National Geographic conducted for an episode of the upcoming series, Mind over Masses in Washington DC, in July 2014.
Among the attractions of Foreigner Street that draw visitors in by the thousands every single day, are recreations of international landmarks that include a miniature New York City, the Venetian Canals and even though it is not technically foreign, a 150-meter (492-foot) replica of the ‘Great Wall of China’ made the cut as a featured exhibit.
Investigating the Impact
Unfortunately, according to National Geographic the pedestrians did not in either case respect the guidelines set forth in order to regulate the two lanes and improve the traffic of commuters. And why would this be? Probably a pretty easy answer when you think about it, most of the people walking on the sidewalk were too busy with their minds so thoroughly engaged with their cell phones to even heed or even notice the momentary pavement segregation! The irony of which should be lost on no one.
Funnier still is that those that did acknowledge the lines either chose to ignore the separation, or followed it for a short length of the walk. However, they too soon became too fell victim to the compulsion to escape into the world of their cell phones, and inevitably they veered off to the ‘no cell phone’ trail without even realizing it. Showing that even when they knew they should have stayed off their phones to stay in that lane, they would still need to reach that technology for some sort of strange security of to appease some obsession.
Though the visitors to Foreigner Street do notice the special lane, they seem to treat it like another entertaining addition to this unusual park and did exactly what the park officials are encouraging them not to! People immediately pulled out their cell phones to take pictures, which they undoubtedly had to share with friends over apps and texts. That is with or without the filters, depending on personal preference.
So while the general assumption may remain that distracted cell-phone walking may not represent a real threat, a study conducted in 2010 performed by researchers at The Ohio State University (O-H!) revealed that distracted cell-phone walking actually played a major role in over 1,500 severe injuries! These incidents were ranging from people falling off walkways or bridges, to people even walking into oncoming traffic! This study pointed out a major concern, but only for people who walk… like ever. Or even people traveling by bike.
Simply put; we all need to take into consideration the fact that even though getting enough ‘likes’ on pictures of ourselves or our cats or sending that ‘urgent’ text about what you are and are not willing to ‘turn down’ for may be pretty important, the risks can be more costly than we care to admit. Is it possible that we can become powerless over our texting, and how much of life does it stand to make unmanageable?
Some addictions are easier to see than others, and an addiction to your smartphone might be a little easier to treat. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a dangerous and over-all devastating disease, and it claims more lives every day, but there is hope. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.
Addiction has nothing to do with drugs. You read that right. Addiction is all about finding an external source of comfort, happiness, etc. Therefore, it might be drugs but, it might also be food, sex, video games, and so on. And, as a person in recovery from drugs (specifically opiates, amphetamines, benzos, sleeping pills – pretty much anything and everything), I’m clear that I have the disease of addiction and currently, my DOC is food.
In fact, food was probably my very first drug of choice in life. My mom likes to *try* to embarrass me by telling my friends and suitors that, as a child, all she’d have to do was tap on my highchair tray at meal times and I’d come running for it. Also, I was always a willing guinea pig with trying new foods – a role I would again play as a teen and young adult only with substances, instead. Even as a toddler, when we, as people-to-be are more likely to be picky with what we eat. Looking back, I think, my parents should have known I’d grow up to be an addict. Just saying.
When I say that I’m a person in recovery, I mean that I work a 12 step program. Because of that, I have learned to take a good look at myself: my thoughts, behaviors, actions, and motives. That said, I totally can recognize that food has become my obsession, once again. I have food addiction.
Food is my drug of choice. This is what I mean by that. I think about food to the point where I plan my day around meals. Once I think about a certain snack or treat (craving) I justify and make excuses to go and buy that thing. And I can’t really stop thinking about it (obsessive thoughts) until I consume it.
And therein lies the disease of addiction: A physical craving and mental obsession.
Food is a reward to me. Just like the drugs once were. I’d think, “I should skip dessert tonight because I’d like to lose a couple of pounds.” But then my next thought would be, “But I’m a good person, I helped someone today. Why should I punish myself by not allowing myself to have that piece of cake?”
I have an unhealthy relationship with food. It’s baffling to me how people can view and use food solely for what it’s truly meant to be: fuel for the brain and body. To me, it’s a reward. A source of pleasure; comfort. And, likewise, not eating is a form of punishment.
And just like my drugs of choice in the past, once I start eating, I can’t really stop. I will eat beyond feeling satisfied because, food just tastes too damn good to me. I could go all day without eating but, once I decide to eat something, it’s often difficult for me to simply stop when I’m full. Again, this is just like my drug addiction: one is too many and a thousand is never enough.
At least with drugs, I know I can’t do them. At all. With food, I have to eat, to sustain myself. It’s the stopping part that gets me.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.