A group of psychiatrists from the University of Hannover has identified a new type of mental disorder that resembles Tourette’s and is “transmitted” through social networks. Writes about this Oxford University Press.
The new type of disorder is accompanied by verbal tics, which, paradoxically, are transmitted through content created by people suffering from similar problems. The disorder is called MSMI. it is a “social media disorder”.
Researchers looked at the specific case of Jan Zimmermann, a young and successful German YouTuber with over two million followers who claims to be diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome.
Psychiatrists explain that many of the tics found in young patients diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome appear in those who are in fact a regular spectator of Zimmermann. Moreover, patients copy ticks from the blogger’s ticks. Some of his recorded verbal tics “make” the victims say “Du bist häßlich” (German for “you’re ugly”) or “pommes” (“potato chips”) for no apparent reason.
However, symptoms associated with Tourette’s syndrome tend to appear at a very young age, whereas these tics are acquired much later, which rules out the nature of Tourette’s syndrome.
“Functional Tourette-like symptoms can be considered the ‘modern’ form of the well-known motor variant of MSI. Moreover, they can be seen as an expression of the stressful reaction of the 21st century associated with the culture of our postmodern society, which emphasizes the uniqueness of people and values their perceived exclusivity, thereby contributing to the attraction of attention to behavior and exacerbating the permanent crisis of identity of the modern person, “the authors of the study write.