Are You Becoming More Depressed by Binge Watching TV?

guy watching tv

Sorry folks, it might be time to turn off the latest season of Orange Is the New Black. It turns out that binge watching your favorite shows on Netflix  could be a sign of anxiety or depression, according to researchers at the University of Toledo.

A link was discovered by the team when they reviewed the screen time of over 400 people and analyzed the relation to any anxiety, depression or sleep disorders that were experienced.

The results showed that 77 percent of the participants were found to watch more than two consecutive hours of TV per day. Of that group, 35 percent were considered binge watchers- meaning they watched much more than two hours of TV per night. These binge watchers noted that they were more addicted to TV and also indicated experiencing more depression, anxiety and sleep issues.

The key issue that hasn’t been uncovered though is whether binge watching causes depression and anxiety or depression and anxiety lead to binge watching.

As reported by the New York Daily News:

“We do not know which came first,” said study author, Monita Karmakar, MS, PhD. “Depression, anxiety and stress led them to binge watch or if binge watching led to depression, anxiety and stress.”

As binge watching becomes more of a cultural phenomenon, Karmakar believes more research is necessary.

“There is a whole other side of this we did not study in our research,” she says. “We did not look at eating habits or exercising habits but TV watching is a sedentary behavior and sedentary behaviors lead to mental health problems and medical symptoms shown to increase cardiovascular disease and risk of diabetes.”

Original release from the American Public Health Association