Although rewatching shows is a popular way of entertaining yourself, there are growing fears that the habit might be a definite sign of mental illness. This article will answer the everlasting question: Is rewatching shows a sign of mental illness?
Rewatching shows is not a definite sign of mental illness, although there is a relationship between binge-watching and anxiety-depressive syndrome. People with these conditions may rewatch shows to escape their problems and maintain control.
In the rest of the article, we will go into detail about this topic and also explain why people tend to enjoy old shows.
When Is Rewatching Shows a Sign of Mental Illness?
Rewatching your favorite show always brings back memories, and it might even be a source of consistency in your life. Knowing what’s going to happen might make you feel good when you know you can’t have this in real life.
Rewatching shows may be a sign of mental illness when you are unable to complete other activities such as house chores or work responsibilities because you can’t stop binge watching. It may be a sign you’re trying to avoid something or mitigate your feelings of anxiousness.
Let’s look at why rewatching shows might indicate that you have some kind of mental illness.
Rewatching Shows is Addictive
According to psychologist Yana Camm, “Rewatching TV shows can be a sign of mental illness if the behavior interferes with your daily activities.”
Whereby you cannot do other things apart from binge-watching your old favorites. Yana further states that this is called “compulsive or addictive behavior.”
Rewatching Shows May Be a Sign of Anxiety
Anxious people tend to hate unpredictable situations and want to be in the know about everything. Watching replays gives them this sense of comfort as they know what’s going to happen. Additionally, they don’t have to be worried about something unexpected taking place in the series or movie.
Rewatching Shows May Be a Sign of Depression
You may decide to rewatch a show if you are feeling stressed or depressed because you want to take a break from all your problems and fears. It could also be that you want to go back to that time when everything was okay in your life.
If the show you’re watching is cheerful and makes you laugh, this is something that can help you become happy and optimistic.
Repeating Your Favorite Shows is a Routine
Psychologists do recommend repetitive habits to people with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder to help them cope with their conditions. Repeating TV shows when you have a mental illness can calm you and reduce any feeling of uncertainty as you will know what to expect from the reruns.
Why Do We Keep Rewatching the Same Show Over and Over?
There are various reasons why people keep repeating a series that has nothing to do with one having a mental illness, and these are:
Going back to your comfort show from time to time can help to take your mind off your worries. As you enter a world where your problems don’t exist, you don’t have to put much effort into understanding the movie since you already know the outcome.
“I rewatched Friends and The Office a lot, especially when the pandemic had just begun, because knowing how the show ends gave me comfort during those times,” says Dianah Ballentine, a data analyst in Dallas.
In fact, Nielsen data showed that 2020 was the year of rewatching shows as Americans streamed The Office for more than 57 billion minutes!
We may be feeling homesick or missing our childhood days and turn to movies that we watched back then. Viewing repeats can bring back good memories and make you happy.
“I also watch shows I watched when I was a child whenever I’m feeling nostalgic,” adds Dianah. “As a way of re-living those good old days.”
When you wish to have control in your life, watching an old favorite can be the best thing to do as you know exactly what to expect. This happens because there is no chance of the show taking an unpleasant turn or making you nervous as you anticipate the ending.
Having control in your life is good as it can prevent you from getting anxious and depressed, which can be signs of mental illness.
The show was exciting, and you can’t seem to get enough of it. This is the reason why enjoyable TV shows like Friends and The Office, among others, are some of the most-watched on streaming networks.
You can relieve stress as you enjoy an old show. Binge-watching enables you to escape into a world that makes you happy, something which is good for your mental health.
Moreover, it can help you beat your loneliness as you get to have your favorite characters keep you company in the process of entertaining you.
Familiarity breeds affection, and so, the more you rewatch shows, the more you get to love them. As a result, you keep repeating the drama or series because you find it more pleasing every time you see it.
Advertising companies know this, and that’s why they run their ads several times. They know that the more times you watch it, the higher the chances of you paying a subscription fee.
Lack of Commitment
Watching a new show requires commitment for you to follow it up to the end, which you might not have. Additionally, with a new show, you’re not even assured of a satisfying ending.
With an old series, you get to pick specific episodes that pleased you and watch them whenever you want without the need to pay much attention because you already know what takes place. On top of that, you can even pause the series whenever, unlike new episodes that keep you hooked to know what happens at the end.
Rewatching shows is good for your health, and you should continue to do so. However, if you find yourself so addicted to it that you cannot do other extra activities like exercising or going out, then that’s a sign of mental illness.
It may be a sign of a mental health disorder if you are using it to live in the past and hide from your problems. If that’s the case, you may want to seek professional help to curb it.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed this story, you may want to read Why is Mental Health Important for Students: Reasons & Tips, and 10 Scary Rare Mental Disorders List You’ve Never Heard Of!.
- Psychology Today: Why Rewatching Shows Feels So Good?
- Patient: Why do we find it comforting to re-watch our favourite movies?
- National Library of Medicine: Associations of Problematic Binge-Watching with Depression, Social Interaction Anxiety, and Loneliness
- Semantic Scholar: Attitudinal effects of mere exposure.
- Sage Journals: Psychological Science: Effects of Perceptual Fluency on Affective Judgments
- Merriam-Webster: binge-watch
- HealthCentral: Why Structure Is Everything With Bipolar Disorder
- American Psychiatric Association: What Are Bipolar Disorders?
- National Institute of Mental Health: Borderline Personality Disorder
- Nielsen: Tops of 2020: Nielsen Streaming Unwrapped
- TV Guide: Top Movies and Shows on HBO Max in 2022
About The Author
M.D Mark D. is a Health and Wellness professional writer. Mark has authored many health articles around the following topics: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Pets Health, Mental Health, Medicine, and Supplements.