Are you still streaming Netflix while reading this article? Well, researchers and doctors might have something for your ‘Netflix addiction’.

Streaming online has always been a form of escapism which makes people binge-watch a show’s entire season on their laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other devices for as much as 7 hours a day. Imagine it like an addiction, which you can’t get rid of?

Thanks to Netflix, a clinic in Bangalore recently treated a man over his Netflix addiction which made him watch seven hours of shows a day, every day of the week, for more than six months.

Netflix is the new addiction

A first

The unnamed man from Bangalore was admitted into the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) clinic after he felt stress over being unemployed. This stress made him turn on his TV in the morning and he found it hard to turn it off.

“Whenever his family pressurized him to earn a living, or when he saw his friends doing well, he would watch the shows on offer continuously. It was a method of escapism. He could forget about his problems, and he derived immense pleasure from it,” said Dr. Manoj Kumar Sharma, who leads SHUT (Service for Healthy Use of Technology).

“He began watching Netflix and found solace in it. It helped him avoid the pressure that the family was putting on him,” he added.

The addiction left him with some severe symptoms, which included eye strain, fatigue, and disturbing sleep patterns.

Treatment for such a disorder involves a host of stress-relieving exercises rather than the usual medication or any heavy treatment.

According to The Print, he is performing deep-breathing exercises to combat the root stress of unemployment and unstable career that made him seek solace in Netflix in the first place. Doctors are asking him to perform these exercises for five minutes every hour.

In addition to this, he’s also been given career counselling and traditional psychological counselling so that he moves back to lead a normal life.

According to Dr. Sharma, the best way to avoid being one of the Netflix addicts is to be aware when you’re using technology as a coping mechanism.

“The best advice is to avoid the use of technology if it becomes a coping mechanism,” Sharma said.

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The trend of addiction

Netflix surely knows how to grip its users. Only last year, the average subscriber viewership on Netflix was 50 minutes a day and this is only increasing.

Addiction to Netflix isn’t recognised by the manual of mental health disorders used by counsellors and practitioners but it is on similar lines of gaming, which is a mental health disorder according to WHO.

After watching an episode on Netflix

Obviously, every one of us have binge-watched a show sometime in their life, but it’s the routine of staying glued to your screen for hours every day which is classified as an addiction.

People tend to take solace in online shows when they want to ignore the reality and find themselves in a virtual world where they don’t have to solve real-life crisis.

With the introduction of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, we have only added to the term ‘addiction’ in the recent past, as if gaming addiction wasn’t enough.

Addiction to video games is generally seen in adolescent kids where they are glued to their phones or PlayStation to win in the virtual world while these streaming platforms are taking the better part of adults who find solace in times of constant stress.

So, if you’re streaming Netflix all day and are unable to stop watching and are neglecting the environment around you, sorry to say but you’re addicted according to Dr. Sharma.

Tick all three parameters? It’s time to close Netflix, exercise control over yourself and begin the journey towards detox.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: The Print, USA Today, The Hindu

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