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Netflix Linked to Mental Health Problems?

Okay, picture this: you’re in your favorite pajamas, eating your favorite comfort snack, and of course binge-watching the latest episode of your favorite Netflix series. It’s also getting late. As the episode ends, can you help yourself in those 15 seconds from watching the next one? Unfortunately, current research has shown that binge watching can be linked to depression, anxiety, isolation, sleep problems, and stress.

I’m sure all of us have had a little extra free time at some point and watched more than one or two episodes, but it’s when the binge-watching is a regular, unhealthy activity that studies suggest people should begin to worry. The study from the American Public Health Association looked at 316 people between 18 and 29. To put it simply, they basically analyzed how often each person watched TV and how often they were depressed, anxious, lonely, etc. They also looked into their habits of self-control and how that may play a role in not being able to tell yourself no when the next episode comes on. What they found is that the majority of the people had a direct correlation between high binge watching, high mental health issues, and low self-control.

 

The shortcoming of this study, however, is that the researchers were not able to determine if binge watching Netflix is the cause for feelings of depression, anxiety, etc. or if feelings of depression, anxiety, etc. somehow cause people to binge watch Netflix. What they do know is that binge watching has tripled since 2014. It’s also true that binge-watching results in other symptoms such as physical fatigue, weight gain, disregard of work, and neglect of relationships.

 

The studies show that even if people know they have other obligations and that they shouldn’t continue watching, they have a hard time resisting the binge watching fascination. Researchers concluded, “Binge-watching is a growing public health concern that needs to be addressed.”

 

I am not recommending that anyone stop watching Netflix, Hulu, or On-Demand all together. Online streaming can be a great way to relax after a long day, bond with a SO or friend, or just watch something that amuses you! After reading a lot about this recent study though, I do feel that people should be more conscious of the effects binge watching might have and take those into consideration. 

 

 

*For more information on this study, check out these links:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/binge-watching-leads-depression-health-problems-article-1.2422662

http://www.medicaldaily.com/binge-watching-tv-linked-higher-rates-depression-and-anxiety-360776

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