Indian mental health clinic treats first Netflix addict

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A person hooked to Netflix sought help in India.

Binge watching movies on Netflix led him to eye strain, loss of self-control, fatigue, and disturbed sleeping cycles.

Netflix is undoubtedly addictive, and we all are guilty as charged, that is to say, having spent too much time binge-watching shows on it. An Indian user contacted a mental health facility National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) because he usually spent an average of seven hours watching not-so-great shows on the video content giant. Researchers also found out that the addiction leads to a decline in work efficiency and relations with their loved ones.

Doctors say that people usually spend more time on streaming platforms to manage their underlying moods. Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) in Bengaluru treated first Netflix addiction case of an unemployed 26-year old man turned Netflix addict. He was using Netflix to escape reality for more than a six month and was able to develop a coping mechanism during that time.

As reported by The Hindu, Head of SHUT clinic and Professor of clinical psychology, Manoj Kumar Sharma said that the man was spending more time on watching shows and films on Netflix for more than seven hours a day. It helped him feel good as he forgets his worries of unemployed life.

“Whenever his family pressurized him to earn a living, or whenever he saw his fellows doing well, he would just watch the shows on and off. He developed a coping mechanism to escape reality. He would forget about his problems, and he derived tremendous pleasure from it,” said Dr. Sharma.

Binge watching movies on Netflix led him to develop eye strain, lose self-control, fatigue, and have disturbed sleeping cycles. Doctors at the clinic helped him in overcoming his addiction through therapy, prescribing relaxation exercises and proper carrier guidance.

Unlike Television where people have to wait for a week to see what happens next, the streaming platform instantly releases all episodes. Company’s report suggests that an average person spends 50 minutes per day on the service. Many people are complaining about Netflix affecting their mental health. If you are worried about yourself, doctors at SHUT recommend avoiding the use of technology as an escape from your problems.

Tech companies like Google, Apple are encouraging users to take care of themselves mentally and emotionally. YouTube now prompts to “take a break” after spending a particular time on the platform. Apple and Google now offer tools in iOS and Android respectively to monitor and control the amount of time you spend on your devices.

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