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Mon 21
Are you a series “addict”? Here are some signs that something is wrong

Are you a series “addict”? Here are some signs that something is wrong

With no balance, having fun without leaving home may affect the routine, harm relationships, and bring depression symptoms

Raquel Derevecki

Outlander, Vikings, The Last Kingdom, Spartacus, The Crown, Downton Abbey, and Mr. Selfridge are some of the series watched by 54-year-old Sociology professor Consuelo Miranda. Even with a busy schedule, Consuelo, who lives in Itatiba, in the countryside of the state of Espírito Santo, always leaves some minutes available for a new episode, and always uses her free time during weekends and holidays to do a series marathon.

Just like her, thousands of people have been using this new entertainment wave without leaving their homes. However, some care must be taken to prevent the entertainment from turning into an addiction, and causing harm to the mental and physical health.

According to psychiatric doctor Ana Heloisa Gonçalves there is no harm in having a marathon once in a while, or watching a few episodes after work or school. “But the fun becomes worrying when people begin to lose track of time, stop doing chores at home, or postpone school tasks because they need to watch the next episode of the series,” she explains.

One of the first to be harmed in this initial “addiction” stage, according to the expert, is rest. “People get so addicted to the series that they lose track of their sleeping time, wake up late, and reduce their production in office or school. Without even realizing, they have altered their whole daily routine.”

16-year-old Alana Mosquem has been through it. “I never got late into class, but I spent several days sleepy from watching series until late at night,” tells the student, currently at the 3rd grade in high school, who even downloaded the TV Time app to organize the series she already watched. “In two years, I’ve watched all seasons available of 12 series, and have 13 more to finish. And there’s also the upcoming seasons,” she remarked.

TV series addiction

Even though the numbers seem high, she guarantees it doesn’t affect her routine, due to the control she exerts upon the time she dedicates to her daily entertainment. “Of course, during holidays I stop worrying, but when I am having classes I watch a maximum of two episodes a day. And I am going to reduce that from now on, since the university admission exams are coming,” the teenager says.

According to doctor Gonçalves, such control is necessary to avoid series from hampering the individuals’ performances in their activities, becoming the center of their thoughts throughout the day, and drawing them away from other people.

“When you spend too much time watching series, you end up isolated, stop practicing physical activities, and end up losing your social contacts,” says the psychiatrist.

Changing a stroll with friends or family for hours in front of the screen has become commonplace in the routine of a Business student from Santa Bárbara do Oeste, upstate São Paulo. The 28-year-old girl, who prefers to remain anonymous, spends her time alone, watching series, and is not afraid of turning down invitations to go out. “I’d much rather stay at home watching them,” says the girl, who works during the day and goes to university at night.

With such a tight schedule, she uses all her available free time to follow her favorite shows. “Even during work I manage to escape and, between the spreadsheets, I throw in the series,” she admits. She has also set up a special place in her kitchen so she can leave her cell phone on while she cooks or washes the dishes. “I do everything watching the series. I sleep around 2 am, and usually stay up all night on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to catch up on some episodes.”

With such a routine, there’s no denying that the student is addicted to series, and needs to reduce the intensity with which they show up in her routine. The young girl, however, has no intention of stopping. “I get desperate when I realize that one series is about to end and I don’t know which one I’ll be watching next, and I enjoy staying at home. Besides, my husband is pretty calm, and, while I watch them, he plays video games,” she emphasizes.

According to Ana Heloísa, such behavior may lead to depressive symptoms, since it affects relationships and reduces the possibility of living new experiences.

“Sometimes people enter this path because they feel alone, they’re not happy with their own lives, or feel empty. Then they see the series as an escape valve, a way to flee from reality,” points out the doctor.

Therefore, friends and relatives should warn these individuals about the situation, and invite them to different activities. This is what the family of 63-year-old Curitiba native Leila Bertolini has been doing. When they saw the retired police chief spending 10 hours a day in front of the screen, they increased the number of invitations to have coffee, lunches, or to go to the mall. “I am retired, and I have all the free time I’ve never had. Then I began to watch series. But I also enjoy when they invite me out, so I go,” she says.

As well as family activities, she also guarantees she abandons her favorite plots for a few moments in order to go to the gym and study English. “And once a week I get together with two friends I’ve had for 45 years. We see each other every week, and every year go somewhere abroad. Am I addicted to series? Yes, I am, but I’m also living other things,” she concludes.



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