A British teen who spent 10 hours per day taking selfies on his phone reportedly attempted to commit suicide after he failed to capture the perfect one.
Danny Bowman, 19, was so obsessed with taking pictures of himself that he didn’t leave his home for six months. He lost nearly 30 pounds and dropped out of school.
He began posting selfies to Facebook when he was 15. Comments from other people online made him obsessed with looking perfect.
“People don’t realize when they post a picture of themselves on Facebook or Twitter it can so quickly spiral out of control,” Bowman told The Mirror. "It becomes a mission to get approval and it can destroy anyone."
Soon he was taking up to 200 selfies a day, 10 immediately after waking up in the morning.
"I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn't, I wanted to die," Bowman said. “I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life. I finally realized I was never going to take a picture that made the craving go away and that was when I hit rock bottom.”
Dr. David Veal, the psychiatrist whose clinic treated the teenager, said Bowman suffers from body dysmorphic disorder. People with BDD think about their real or perceived physical flaws for hours per day, unable to control negative thoughts and experiencing chronic emotional distress about their appearance. BDD affects men and woman equally and most often develops during adolescence.
“Danny’s case is particularly extreme,” Veal told The Mirror. “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.”
"It’s a real problem like drugs, alcohol or gambling," Bowman said. "I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.”
The clinic has since weaned him off of his iPhone.
“The only thing I cared about was having my phone with me so I could satisfy the urge to capture a picture of myself at any time of the day,” he said.