Man Treated For World’s First Netflix Addiction At Indian Rehab Clinic

Doctors believe the man used Netflix to escape real world problems.

A person scrolling through Netflix
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Doctors believe the man used Netflix to escape real world problems.

An anonymous, unemployed 26-year-old has become the first Netflix addiction patient to receive treatment at a rehab clinic. The unidentified male received treatment at a digital rehab center after his extreme addiction to the streaming service resulted in exhaustion, eye strain, and irregular sleep habits. The combination of symptoms resulting from the addiction reportedly caused a variety of problems for the man’s well-being.

Manoj Kumar Sharma, a professor of clinical psychology at the Service for Healthy Use of Technology (SHUT) clinic in Bengaluru, told The Hindu, “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. It was a method of escapism. He could forget about his problems, and he derived immense pleasure from it.”

The first thing the man did when he awoke in the morning was head for a screen to turn on Netflix. What was once his source of pleasure and escape from reality quickly became a problem as he lost any and all self-control.

To treat his Netflix addiction, doctors at the rehab clinic are focusing on his psychological issues, which caused him to lose himself in the streaming service to begin with. The treatment plan includes therapy, relaxation exercise, and assistance with furthering his career.

While Dr. Sharma admits this is one of the more extreme cases his clinic has ever seen and they’ve never worked with someone addicted to Netflix before, they do have experience working with similar cases including addictions to online gaming, technology, and even social media. Similar to his situation, most of these types of cases stem from a place of desire to escape from the real world.

As those who are familiar with Netflix know, streaming services work differently than traditional television. Traditional television typically limits you to one episode a week with the exception of shows like Big Brother which air multiple episodes in the same week. On Netflix, the viewer can binge through entire seasons as well as an entire series in some cases. As a result, it is much easier for someone to become addicted to Netflix given the wealth of content available for viewing.

According to Daily Mail, the type of content the unidentified male was watching was not reported. He was reported to watch a minimum of seven hours of content each and every day.

Doctors at the clinic where the man received treatment are worried that this is just the first case in a possible trend. They urge family members and friends to monitor loved ones for Netflix addiction warning signs.

“The best advice is to avoid the use of technology if it becomes a coping mechanism,” Dr. Sharma added as he explained how to avoid letting Netflix addiction become a problem.