TikTok mental disorder trend raises concern

(NewsNation Now) – A new trend on the social networking app TikTok is leading some teens to believe they have a serious but very rare mental disorder.

Essentially, these videos hashtag the name of a rare disorder and point to a list of symptoms that could potentially accompany this mental illness.

For example: #disassociatedpersonalitydisorder

Here are some quotes straight from a TikTok video:

  • The constant thoughts challenge your own motives and those of others by starting fights to test if someone really cares about you.
  • Having days where you can have fun on your own and then struggle to find happiness.

Other videos show teenagers going from one personality disorder to another.

These videos, experts say, act to normalize very rare conditions.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, borderline personality disorder is extremely rare, affecting only about 1.4 percent of American adults.

Dissociated disorder – officially known as multiple personality disorder – is even rarer, affecting less than 1% of the population.

These videos are viewed hundreds of millions of times, causing concern among clinical psychologists.

“I’m pretty worried about that,” Dr. John Duffy said during an appearance on “Morning in America.” “I don’t work with many kids who haven’t fallen into this trap with one disorder or another.”

Duffy says we have to keep in mind that children are very impressionable.

“Children will find ways to identify,” Duffy said of the diagnostic criteria, “until they truly believe they embody this disorder.”

Most kids in a high school psychology class will hear about these disorders. But social media has become very ubiquitous. Hearing about it over and over again can make the information seem much more real.

“It’s really about volume,” Duffy said. “And that’s part of the culture…the way you think. It is really dangerous for children.

Young people are drawn to social media, especially when they are looking for a sense of identity, a sense of belonging.

Most social media platforms strive to form some sort of community, but especially TikTok, according to Duff. TikTok is particularly well-arranged for the creation of groups.

“It’s a terrible place for kids to find their identity,” Duffy said.

Duffy recommends that parents keep an open line of communication with their children, not only about TikTok and other social media, but also about mental illness.

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