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Binge-Watching: 5 Essential Tips To Stop It

May 9, 2024

6 min read

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Author : Dr. Jatin Tarwani
Binge-Watching: 5 Essential Tips To Stop It


There was a time in very recent history when entertainment shows were watched on television sets, and people had to wait for a week to watch the next episode. These shows also had advertisement breaks. With changing technology and ever-increasing Wi-Fi speeds, these shows, in their entirety from the first episode to the last episode, can be watched on Smart TVs, Smartwatches, Smartphones, tablets, and computer screens in one go, without any breaks (Umesh & Bose, 2019).  

Binge Watching 

Viewing multiple episodes of a serial or series in a single sitting in which the watcher spends much time, which can go on for hours altogether. The viewing is largely uninterrupted or planned and can involve fictional series, reality shows, anime, or news.  Watchers mention multiple reasons for watching online content for hours altogether. Some mention that it is the content of the series that makes it entertaining; others mention that it works as a social glue when talking about current and ‘‘viral’’ topics or “online series.” Still, others report a feeling of FOMO- Fear of missing out on thinking and fear that others may have rewarding experiences and they will be left out. 

Effects of Binge-Watching

Scientific literature mentions multiple positive and negative effects of binge-watching. The positive benefits are- nourishment of creativity, increase in empathy when shows reveal difficult situations that happen in real life, making a watcher think, what if- a similar thing happens to them, and improvement of interpersonal relationships when watching in a group or talking about the shows afterward; engagement in other activities like merchandise and traveling to filming location; motivation to learn foreign languages; exploring different cultural backgrounds; acquiring professional knowledge in fields such as law and medicine and understanding social trends. 

As the adage goes “no good thing comes free”, there are indeed negative effects associated with binge watching. Disruption of daily routine is very common as binge watching usually happens post school for students, post work for workers and at nighttime for many people, and sometimes, people sleep late owing to the same and on subsequent days find it difficult to follow their routine. 

Psychological Effects of Binge-Watching

 It has been observed that depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, sleep problems (Alimoradi et al., 2022), and the presence of a phenomenon akin to addiction are present in binge watchers. 

  • 1. Development of Tolerance- After consuming multiple episodes of a series at a stretch, watchers claim that their capacity to engage in watching has increased and that they do not find the same pleasure in watching one episode anymore. 
  • 2. Negative Emotions- Sometimes, when watchers are disturbed in the middle of the episode, they get annoyed and angry. Binge watchers also feel their mood is highly dependent on the content, frequency of serials.
  • 3. Helplessness- They often find themselves having loss of control over their usage of content as the duration and intensity of binge-watching increases over the weeks, months and years, that often they have guilt of wasting excessive amounts of their precious time on things which were useless for them.
  • 4. Disturbances in Relationships- Binge watching also leads to conflicts with family members who at times feel incapable themselves in stopping the binge- watcher (Chang and Peng, 2022). 
  • 5. Erosion of values- At times, the values that people develop over a lifetime, find them getting washed away with watching content which initially they found repulsive.

Binge Watching and Depression

Binge-watching and depression compound problems for each other. People who are depressed spend more time watching online series as a way of self-medication because of the positive effects that are related to watching; however, as the positive effects are very short lasting, the need to watch the screen continues for long, sometimes watching the screen throughout the day. On the other hand, binge-watchers often have disturbed sleep and often neglect their duties towards their work, school, and family, which leads to guilt, and this creates a seed for the development of depression in already vulnerable individuals (Steins-Loeber et al., 2020). This is how both the psychological phenomenon of depression and binge-watching create a vicious cycle in which a person feels like they are falling into a bottomless pit.  

How to Stop Binge Watching?

Binge-Watching: 5 Essential Tips To Stop It

There are various ways that binge-watchers can get a grip on the problem.

  1. Anticipation– Make a list of times, certain mood states, and certain locations that increase the chances of binge-watching. For example, I binge-watch after going home from work at 6 P.M. when I am stressed. 
  2. Alternatives- Try alternatives for the list you made, which will make it incompatible to binge watch, e.g. Instead of going home, I will go to gym at 6 PM. Instead of seeing the screen when stressed, I will try to talk about my stressors with my family members or friends.   
  3. Pleasurable activities- Engage in activities which give pleasure e.g. regularly engaging in exercise, yoga, music, dance etc. the activities you can decide for your own self which has proved meaningful to you in the past.
  4. Setting Limits- Make limits to your watching- when you are watching, have a wall clock installed in your room or wear a wristwatch that will remind you to stop once the limit is reached and respect that limit.
  5. Avoidance- Avoid watching when you are eating food, when you are talking to a family member or when you are going to the washroom.


The market forces that increase the chances of binge-watching are the new reality. Binge watchers may find that, at times, engaging in binge-watching may provide temporary gratification and, at times, improve interpersonal communication, but with long-term usage, it is associated with the consequences of deteriorating mental health and can create a phenomenon like addiction. With the rapidly changing technology and the daily advent of the speed of Wi-Fi, the day is not far from the same binge-watching experience that will be experienced through immersive routes of virtual reality.    
The treatment options for the same are limited, but if prevention can be done, then it can go a long way in preserving mental health from the constant barrage of new online series that are coming every day on online platforms. 


Alimoradi, Z., Jafari, E., Potenza, M. N., Lin, C. Y., Wu, C. Y., & Pakpour, A. H. (2022). Binge-watching and mental health problems: a systematic review and Meta-analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 19(15), 9707.

Chang, Y. J., & Peng, C. Y. (2022). Exploring experiences of binge-watching and perceived addictiveness among binge-watchers: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1-8.

Steins-Loeber, S., Reiter, T., Averbeck, H., Harbarth, L., & Brand, M. (2020). Binge-watching behavior: the role of impulsivity and depressive symptoms. European addiction research, 26(3), 141-150.

Umesh, S., & Bose, S. (2019). Binge-watching: A matter of concern? Indian journal of psychological medicine, 41(2), 182–184.

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Author : Dr. Jatin Tarwani

Dr. Jatin Tarwani works as a psychiatrist in Delhi.

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