Binge-watching is a buzzword, you cannot ignore today. But is it really what you want to indulge in? How does binge-watching cause depression?
Why is it that even after watching the "epic", "trending", and "hyped" web series, which everyone is making memes about, that you can now understand, and share with your friends, you still feel wired and tired?
Today, we are going to decode binge-watching & its impacts for you.
Well, it is the question of the hour, and to answer this are a handful of reasons that binge-watching causes depression. Binge-watching a series does start by offering a high, a positive excitement feeling and then leaves us emotionally spent on the couch. What exactly happens to our mind when we watch these shows or most of it in one sitting.
When binge-watching your favourite show, your brain is continually producing dopamine, the happy hormone. This of course causes your body to experience a drug-like high. As clinical psychologists across the world claim, it's due to the chemicals being released in our brain.
This chemical gives the body a natural, internal reward of pleasure that reinforces continued engagement in that activity. It is the brain's signal that communicates to the body, 'This feels good. You should keep doing this!' When binge-watching your favourite show, your brain is continually producing dopamine, and your body experiences a drug-like high. You experience a pseudo-addiction to the show because you develop cravings for dopamine.
While this is a well-placed trap which every digital entertainment platform has formed by investing in and releasing hours of content in form of web-series to make sure that one watches episode after episode and stays on their web platform for the most hours.
What people do not release is the subscription money one pays is not the only thing that the online entertainment platform demands from you. Is the watching hours you spend on these platforms.
I know, there were days when generation X was growing, when we wished to see more and more of our favourite shows but has to wait for the next day or even a whole week to watch those shows. Somehow, those days offered more comfort and energy after spending 2-3 hours of fixed time each day, than today when children and adults can find their unlimited hours of content on their mobile devices.
Why? Well, apart from not having noses in front of the screens the entire time which leads to the direct physical impacts like obesity and defected eyes. The reason of how essentially you do not feel entertained after completing a series is exactly why schools offer 'recess' breaks to relax the student's minds, you cannot just go on doing a thing for hours without exhausting your mind.
When your mind directs you to indulge more into binge-watching, the same occurs when a drug or other type of addiction begins. Scientifically, psychologists explain how the neuronal pathways that cause heroin and sex addictions are the same as an addiction to binge-watching.
And from the outside as well, you can recognise that like many addictions, one doesn't realise they are falling prey to the addiction of consuming content online non-stop just like one does when it comes to drinking, smoking, or consuming drugs. While the body does not discriminate against pleasure. It can become addicted to any activity or substance that consistently produces dopamine.
When we invest our time and emotional energy onto something frictional like a story or a character, it fuels the binge-watching experience and the brain codes all the experiences to realise when it si that you feel the happiest or when is the more dopamine released.
The mind, however, views these experiences which are watched on TV, experienced life and read in the book as 'real' memories. Hence, when we are watching these television shows, the areas of the brain that are activated are the same as when experiencing a live event. We get drawn into storylines, become attached to characters and truly care about outcomes of conflicts.
Identification, when you try to connect and identify ourselves in the position of the character, is also a major factor that causes these fantasy-based shows to impact us in the real life.
How you break from the cycle of feeling depressed, binge-watching, and again feeling depressed. Entertainment is not wrong, it is the non-stop and unlimited way it is approached today. While you can take steps to reprogramme your brain to ensure that not only binge-watching allows the release of dopamine, by adding different activities in your routine like cooking, reading, spending time with family, or even exercising. Remember, it is your conscious decision to allow binge-watching or anything that impacts your life positively or negatively.