If binge-watching means we are depressed, a lot of us should call a doctor

We now have the ability to watch an entire series of television episodes back-to-back thanks to sites like Hulu and Netflix. But does having a series marathon (or even just a couple episodes) mean we are depressed? Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin asked 316 people ages 18-29 how often they watch TV; […]

We now have the ability to watch an entire series of television episodes back-to-back thanks to sites like Hulu and Netflix. But does having a series marathon (or even just a couple episodes) mean we are depressed?

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin asked 316 people ages 18-29 how often they watch TV; how often they had feelings of loneliness, depression and self-regulation deficiency; and how often they binge-watched TV.

The results weren’t good.

If binge-watching means you’re depressed, I was in a severe downward spiral when I had to catch up with the first 3 seasons of Breaking Bad before the 4th season premiered a few years ago. (Confession: I’ve done this with more than one series.)

“Even though some people argue that binge-watching is a harmless addiction, findings from our study suggest that binge-watching should no longer be viewed this way,” Yoon Hi Sung, who conducted the study with Eun Yeon Kang and Wei-Na Lee, according to EurekaAlert!. “Physical fatigue and problems such as obesity and other health problems are related to binge-watching and they are a cause for concern. When binge-watching becomes rampant, viewers may start to neglect their work and their relationships with others. Even though people know they should not, they have difficulty resisting the desire to watch episodes continuously. Our research is a step toward exploring binge-watching as an important media and social phenomenon.”

Obviously there’s a spectrum with this subject. But this new TV-marathon trend that’s been made available to us has definitely led to more time in front of the screen for some people. We’ll see if antidepressant prescriptions go up in the future as Netflix rolls out more exclusive all-at-once shows.