INDIA HAS become the first country in the world to treat a patient for addiction to Netflix.
The Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (Nimhans) in Bengaluru reports the case of a 26-year-old man who spent over six months during a period of unemployment where he regularly watched Netflix for over seven hours per day.
Manoj Kumar Sharma, professor of clinical psychology explains to The Hindu:
"Whenever his family pressurised him to earn a living, or when he saw his friends doing well, he would watch the shows on offer continuously. It was a method of escapism. He could forget about his problems, and he derived immense pleasure from it,"
As time went on, it became harder to get his fix, with his addiction manifesting in eye strain, fatigue and broken sleep patterns.
The case shines a light on the way that Netflix and other streaming services lure you in with their "just one more episode" mentality, and the added carrot of stripping out the end credits for virtually seamless transition between episodes.
It plays into the ‘instant gratification' endorphins in the brain making addiction more likely.
In this case, the man was given therapy, relaxation exercises and career advice in the hope of helping him out of his chair and into work.
Critics in the country have cited Netflix as another example of technology affecting our mental development, with Primary School children often being found to manifest the signs of addiction to television.
Sharma also likens the connection to that of video-game addicts, saying the two are often found manifesting together. The warning is that "The best advice is to avoid the use of technology if it becomes a coping mechanism"
There is nothing in the report to suggest that this type of addiction can turn into a more physical addiction, nor that it increases likelihood of substance abuse, but with more than half of Brits using streaming services, we might hear more of this in the future, especially with Sky Q integration on the way. μ
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