Are you one of those addicted to selfies? If so, read what the writer has to say.

Most people use Facebook to stay connected with family and friends. It is indeed a useful medium through which one can share important moments in one’s life with others.

But there is also a downside to it — one exemplified by the ‘selfie’ craze. Everyone — from the man on the street to celebrities — has taken to this latest fad.

When people like or post positive comments on a selfie, it makes the person feel good and boosts his/her self-confidence. But what happens if someone makes a negative comment? Of late, mental health professionals get patients who are depressed and anxious because of comments/criticism on their Facebook profile or people not responding to messages or the lack of comments on their photos/updates, which makes them feel ignored.For some, posting selfies or updates is an obsession and comments made by others are like a tonic that keeps them going. This is a problem faced not just by the younger generation but also by the middle-aged and older people who are on Facebook.

Take the example of students who have moved to another city or country for further studies. They find Facebook a good medium to stay in touch with their friends and families when they feel lonely and depressed. They click photos and upload them on Facebook and the messages, likes and comments make them feel that people still love them.

Why does this happen? Today, the problem is that most people are so busy that they don’t have time to spend with friends and family. So we turn to the virtual world for the love and attention that we are missing out on in real life. Instead of all of this, we need to stop and introspect on what is actually missing in our lives. Remember, this is not to say that such people are mentally ill. All they want is a little love and attention from their loved ones.

The writer is a consultant in behavioural neurology and psychiatry.