With COVID-19, including the Omicron, Delta, Alpha, and Beta variants, and then add monkeypox and all the other unfortunate things that happen in our everyday lives, the country seems to be overwhelmed with bad news. Bad news seems to compound our negative emotions and add to our stress either by reminding us of the things we want to forget or informing us of things we’d rather not know. Mental health can be decimated by the news cycle, but no matter how hard it is on the mind, some people can’t seem to stay away from it. Today our center for mental health care in Boca Raton is sharing more on the consequences of being addicted to news and how to prevent overload.
Otherwise referred to as “headline stress disorder” in a Northwestern University Medical School article, news addiction refers to the inability to stop watching the news or receive new information about current events. Individuals who are “addicted to the news” may always have their local news channel on, scroll their social media and online news platforms, and feel a constant urge or obsession with receiving new knowledge.
This condition is also known as headline anxiety and stress disorder, and when breaking news is constantly flooding media channels, it can make anyone feel overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious. Somber stories, shocking headlines, and continual notifications are taking a heavy toll on society’s mental health.
Many people are made anxious by the widespread distribution of negative or frightening news. What’s more, individuals with anxiety disorders, depression, or other mental health problems are more likely to experience psychological distress due to negative news. So how exactly does a news addiction impact a person’s life?
There’s no arguing the value of news. Reporters and journalists work tirelessly to ensure that our communities remain informed. However, too much of something isn’t a good thing, and having access to too much information can be detrimental to certain aspects of one’s mental health and well-being.
As 24-hour news outlets compete for ratings, they often cover events in extreme detail and often sensationalize aspects of a story to make it more appealing. More than 70% of the United States believe that the media “blows things out of proportion,” which could lead to increased stress and anxiety in those who consume the news frequently.
What’s more, over half of Americans say the news causes them stress. While the news isn’t always problematic in small doses, chronic stress is linked to numerous health issues. In a world where news is available across multiple platforms, such as our smartphones, TVs, and car radios, it can be difficult to escape both the news and the stress that comes with it.
While there are certainly feel-good stories out there, most headlines are anything but positive. Startling and unnerving audiences get views and clicks, which is why news outlets tend to exaggerate stories and post the most heartbreaking ones.
The news today is also greatly influenced by user-generated content (UGC), which includes images and videos that may depict graphic violence and other disturbing content, which would have been further censored in the past or withheld from the public altogether.
Today, this type of content is highly sought-after by both the media and audiences, making it easy to see, even for those who weren’t interested in the first place. For these reasons, frequent exposure to news – or being addicted to news – can lead to stress, which may contribute to anxiety and even depression.
As we mentioned, many Americans find the news to be highly stressful, and chronic stress is a major risk factor for depression. Unlike the newspaper-reading days before 24-hour news outlets were high-ranking, today’s non-stop exposure to this source of stress can cause mental illness.
If you’re struggling with your mental health, our residential mental health program in Boca offers care for all kinds of disorders. Our specialists can help you gain control over your mental health and make positive changes to your life.
Are there any ways we can cope with the impact of constant, negative news? If you’ve been struggling to keep off news outlets, here are some tips on how to stop news addiction and strategies for reading bad news that can allow you to remain informed while controlling the urge.
By following these tips, it may be possible for you to reap the rewards of the news – like increased information and psychological resilience – while avoiding the negative effects. But if these tips aren’t efficient, our Banyan mental health center offers services that can help.
Our mental health care in Boca Raton includes treatment for depression, anxiety, OCD, and more. We can help you regain control over your mental health and learn how to cope with everyday stressors like the news.
Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 to get started!