AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A recent survey are linking binge watching television to mental issues such as depression.
92% of people who participated in the study said they have binge watched at some point in time. The study suggested that those who did binge watch lacked the self regulation to stop watching after one or two episodes which indicated an addictive behavior.
Outlets such as Netflix and Hulu help make it easy for people to slip into a binge state. But can that binge become an addiction? And if so, when does it start?
"There is a possibility for binge watching to become an addiction if the brain intercepts it with stimulation," Clinical Physiologist Dr. David Egerton said. "The intensity of the stimuli can actually contact the pleasure centers of the brain which will then begin the addictive behavior because the brain relies on the stimulation to function."
Binge watching is not necessary negative some people do it when they have downtime so it is safe. The time to worry is when the binge begins to affect someone's job and daily commute.
An important factor to consider is that binge watching can be the surface point to bigger problems.
"It is important to abstain whats below the surface," Dr. Egerton said. "When people are avoiding or escaping stresses of life they may use binge watching to attempt to reduce their anxiety as opposed to being involved more productive activities."
Dr. Egerton went on to say people tend to eat high calorie foods as they watch television. Add that to a lack of physical activity, and experts say that puts them at risk for obesity and diabetes. Obesity may not be a problem for people who are psychically active, but binge watching does open up doors to potential problems such as stress and sleep deprivation.
Negative things that can drive people to binge on television shows is depression, personal stress, or people avoiding dealing with their tensions and problems.
Dr. Egerton says there is always a underlining behavior that comes with binge watching, people just have to pay attention to when binge watching starts to affect their personal life and work.
"If people are engaged in that activity and it is impending on functionality and life then certainly it is time to see a professional," Dr. Egerton said. "And see about an evaluation to see if there would be appropriate treatment which could be either medical or psychological. People who would be best equipped to handle that would be psychiatrist, psychologists, or counselors."