First-Ever Case Of Netflix Addiction Being Treated In India

By Victoria Kim 10/10/18

The man would turn on Netflix first thing in the morning and binge-watch shows and movies for more than seven hours every day. 

person logging onto Netflix account on laptop

Internet addiction disorder is not officially recognized in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), but it’s very much a reality for some.

A serious case of digital addiction in India highlights the serious effects of getting hooked on technology. According to The Hindu, last week a 26-year-old man became the first “Netflix addict” to seek treatment at the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore.

The man would turn on Netflix first thing in the morning and binge-watch shows and movies for more than seven hours every day to escape the reality of being unemployed. He did this for six months, the Hindu reports.

“Whenever his family pressurized him to earn a living, or when he saw his friends doing well, he would watch the shows on offer continuously,” said Manoj Kumar Sharma, a clinical psychologist at SHUT. “It was a method of escapism. He could forget about his problems, and he derived immense pleasure from it.”

SHUT was established in 2014 to help people experiencing a “pattern of excessive use of technology.” Sharma and his team help address the problematic use of technology and replace the technology with healthy activities, build coping skills and strengthen a patient’s support network.

The unidentified patient—who experienced fatigue, disturbed sleep and eye strain as a result of his Netflix habit—was put on a regimen of relaxation exercises, therapy and career counseling at SHUT, according to the Print.

Sharma said that many of his patients who excessively watch TV and movies on streaming platforms also struggle with gaming addiction. “The best advice is to avoid the use of technology if it becomes a coping mechanism,” said Sharma.

While not officially recognized as a mental disorder in the DSM-5, internet addiction disorder affects many—young and old.

The Hindu notes that children also struggle with digital addiction. “The addiction interferes with the child’s academic performance and counselors are advising students and parents to keep a close watch on the duration and the shows they watch,” said Mansoor Khan, a school official in Bangalore who said they have begun noticing the problem in young students.

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Victoria is interested in anything that has to do with how mind-altering substances impact society. Find Victoria on LinkedIn or Tumblr