Can consuming true crime content have negative effects on mental health? This is what we think

True crime documentaries or series have always been a hot topic. Not only today, OTT is at its peak and all these stories are available on the go. In fact, even as people get older, they read these stories in newspapers, they hear them on the radio and earlier there were the investigative series too.

So, it wouldn't be fair at all to put the blame on OTTs. There's no doubt that the crime genre has become a lot more binge-worthy in recent times, with a great cast and epic storylines portrayed by great directors, but it has always been a popular genre.

First of all, I am not a psychiatrist, nor someone who likes stories about serial killers. But what matters here is who I was. I worked as a journalist and had the opportunity to interview the relatives of the victims in several cases where a loved one had either committed suicide or was suffering after a terrible incident.

In addition, I am a metalhead and lyricist who has written many death metal songs about torture and mad scientists conducting experiments on people. But even when I was working on my songs, sometimes I felt a bit too heavy and didn't like what I had written.

So how exactly do these truly fascinating stories affect your mental health?

Why are we drawn to crime novels?

Well, it is human to be fascinated by new things. However, people usually make fun of those who enjoy true and gruesome stories, not knowing that they feel these emotions for another reason.

If that weren't the case, there wouldn't have been any researchers and we wouldn't have landed on the moon yet. It's just a huge interest.

Another reason why people like to watch crime shows is because they want to know what happened to someone else in the past and simply want to be prepared just in case they find themselves in that situation.

This is the most popular reason and the one that appeals a lot to women. However, watching or listening to a lot of crime dramas can also have negative effects on your mental health.

How does it affect you? Listen to your body; there are always signs

Anything consumed in excess can have a negative impact on your health. This also applies to watching too many crime dramas, documentaries, podcasts or even crime novels.

Although they prepare you for your worst nightmare, sometimes it can cause a drastic change in your behavior. All I'm saying is that it's good to be alert, but you should also check your behavior if you've become overly reactive.

You may reach a point where you don't even leave your house. You may stop socializing. Remember that it's not just true events in history like those of Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and others that can have a negative impact on you.

Even the fictionalized crime story changes your behavior in the same way. However, I am not calling for you to completely boycott such shows and even stop watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine or Only Murders in the Building, nor am I calling for you to stop binge-watching Unbelievable, Inventing Anna or Black Bird.

All I ask is that you pay attention to your own behavior. Be vigilant about yourself. Your behavior is crying out for change, but you may be too deaf to hear it.

Watching too many crime scenes can tire you out and make you anxious, explained psychologist Chivonna Childs (PhD).

Over time, you may even find that curiosity is replaced by fear. A racing heartbeat and shallow breathing are some of the signs you should look out for.

When should you take a break?

If your behavior changes toward the crime stories, it's worth reflecting on it. Pay attention to how the stories make you feel. Do you actually want to know more about them? Do you feel anxious and stressed?

If you experience mood swings or notice your mood getting worse and you feel like you're no longer enjoying the show, stop watching and try a genre change instead.

Maybe you'll rewatch Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad. However, it's always healthy to binge watch some comedy shows, watch SNL, and just take a break from your daily dose of true or fictional crime stories.