A British teenager became so obsessed with taking the perfect ‘selfie’ that tried to kill himself when failed. At the height of his addiction he was taking up to 200 pictures a day after dropping out of school to focus on his obsession.
He eventually became so depressed that he took an overdose, but was discovered by his mother and rushed to hospital before it was too late.
Speaking to the Mirror, Danny Bowman, 19, said: “I’d taken over 200 pictures that day and looked at them over and over. I couldn’t see any that I liked. I couldn’t take any more and just started popping the pills.”
“I woke feeling groggy, in pain, with my parents devastated at what I had done. All I could think about was what I would look like in my next picture. I needed help.”
Danny then underwent intensive therapy to cure his addiction, obsessive compulsive disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder.
He started taking the photos when he was 15: “People would comment on them, but children can be cruel. One told me my nose was too big for my face and another picked on my skin. I started taking more and more to try to get the approval of my friends.
“I would be so high when someone wrote something nice but gutted when they wrote something unkind.”
He developed an ambition to become a male model, but suffered a setback after he was rejected by an agency: “They told me that my body was the wrong shape to be a model and that my skin wasn’t up to scratch. I was mortified.”
He said that after the rejection he started compulsively taking pictures, discarding each one as not good enough. Before long he had developed an eating disorder as he attempted to lose weight, and dropped to just 7 stone (98 lbs).
Dr David Veal, a psychiatrist at the clinic where Danny was treated, told the Mirror: “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.”
Danny says that he now hope to help other people whose lives are ruined by technological addictions: “It’s a real problem like drugs, alcohol or gambling. I don’t want anyone to go through what I’ve been through.”