True Crime: How much is too much?

True crime shows such as Making a Murderer, Tiger King, and now the newest series Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, are a growing trend on streaming services. According to YouGovAmerica, half of Americans enjoy watching true crime tv with 1 out of 3 people admitting that they watch them at least one a week, with women being more likely to watch than men. But why do we like these shows that may be fearful and disturbing?

Most believe that true crime shows makes us feel empathy for the victims, more aware of our safety, and teaches us about the criminal justice system. However, watching too much true crime can also cause us to feel paranoid and afraid. How do we know if we are exposing ourselves to too much crime, murder, and disturbing content?

Here are some signs to be aware of:
  1. You start becoming wary of others. Worrying that your neighbor may not be who they say they are, or wondering if the person standing in front of you at the grocery store is a criminal, may be a sign that you’re exposing yourself to too much crime based shows. A certain amount of cautiousness can be a good thing and keep you alert, however, if you start to feel paranoid and suspicious of others on a consistent basis, you may want to cut back on the amount of true crime you are consuming.
  2. You feel scared all the time. If you start feeling scared to go out and can’t fall asleep at night because you are thinking about all the what-ifs to the point you are isolating yourself, you may need to rethink your love of true crime shows.
  3. You are fearful in your own home. If you are double checking the locks on your doors and constantly looking out the windows, you may be experiencing some feelings of paranoia and anxiety. Constantly being worried that something bad might happen to you is also a sign that you may be watching too much true crime tv.

True crime shows can be thrilling, suspenseful and entertaining, however, if it starts affecting your mental health, you may need to cut back on the amount of time you spend watching these shows. Try to limit the amount of true crime shows you watch each week and mix in different genres of shows to make sure that it's not negatively impacting your life.

For more other helpful tips on managing anxiety, check out Don’t Let Stress and Anxiety Rule Your World, and more on Acenda’s Mental Health Resource Center.