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Streamer Fever: Do You Have a Binge-Watching Addiction?

With the advent of streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max, binge-watching has become a regular thing for many people. But now, scientists say that binge-watching can be considered an actual addiction. Problematic binge-watching isn’t defined by the number of episodes watched or a specific number of hours spent in front of the TV or computer. As with other addictive behaviors, more important is whether it is having a negative impact on other aspects of the person’s life.

Here are the “6 core components” of addiction, in relation to binge-watching:

1. Binge-watching is the most important thing in the person’s life. 

2. The person binge-watches as a way of changing their mood: to feel better in the short-term or to escape from something negative in their life.

3. It compromises key aspects of the person’s life, like relationships and education or work.

4. The number of hours spent binge-watching each day has increased significantly over time.

5. The person experiences psychological and/or physiological withdrawal symptoms if they’re unable to binge-watch.

6. If the person manages to temporarily stop binge-watching, when they do so again, they go straight back into the cycle they were in previously. 

To break your binge-watching habit: Stop watching mid-way through an episode, so as to avoid cliff-hangers, which encourage you to watch more. Also, set daily limits, and finally, if you feel it is taking over your life, seek a referral from your doc to see a clinical psychologist. Most addictions are symptomatic of other problems.