‘Binge watching addiction’ causes depression to 26-year-old

New Delhi: A 26-year old marketing professional went to the hospital, complaining of the depression and anxiety. He has been diagnosed with an “addiction of online binge watching”. The 26-year-old works in Gurgaon and as per the consultant psychiatrist, the man had linked his symptoms to stress at the workplace and interpersonal issues.

Dr Jain said that the man came in for a consultation, “At first, he showed signs of severe anxiety. During the consultation, he was also found to be suffering from stress. His mother said he spent a lot of time on the internet at odd hours. Due to inadequate sleep and binge watching, he was unable to wake up in the morning. He started experiencing anxiety and mind absenteeism and was unable to go to work.”

Dr Manish Jain, consultant, department of psychiatry, BLK Super Specialty Hospital:”He wanted to watch entire documentaries online in one go, during normal sleep hours. A single documentary is two-three hours long. For two years, he kept binge-watching shows, which led to sleep deprivation. He didn’t realize that this addiction resulted in him suffering from critical symptoms of depression, mind absenteeism and anxiety. He thought it was due to work stress and interpersonal issues.”

According to the doctor’s findings, the patient used to watch documentaries and TV shows without taking breaks, leading him to sleep deprivation, reports NDTV.

“Just like the internet for mobile addiction, addiction caused by binge watching is still not defined in the clinical diagnostic manual. But it is a lifestyle related addiction, which, like in this case, can result in critical symptoms of depression and anxiety,” the doctor said.

He would travel 60-80 km to work for a nine-hour shift. “Despite his hectic schedule, he could not let go of his habit. This was a clear sign that he was addicted to it. He never realized that sleep deprivation had resulted in anger outbursts, anxiety, mood swings and depression,” he said.

Dr Jain further added that correctly “identifying” technology-related addiction is the key to treatment: “In this case, it was binge watching. The man had become irritable and withdrawn and would not take part in family activities. His family, too, did not know this was a consequence of binge watching. He has now undergone psychotherapy for his addiction.”