The Effect True Crime Shows Has On Your Mental Health

murder scene

I am a true crime lover. From my start with ID channel then moving on to YouTube true crime (shout out to Bailey Sarian) and animated channels and podcasts. It was 98% of what I listened to if I wasn’t listening to horror stories about ghouls and goblins. I was obsessed! I was so immersed in the genre that I didn’t realize what effect it had on me until I started to listen to other things. Today we’ll dive into how constantly listening to true crime affects your mind and I’ll give you my experience at the end. Disclaimer: I am in no way saying you should never listen to true crime it can be very entertaining I’m just simply providing information on the topic and sharing my views on it. With that being said let’s get into it.

In the past few years, True Crime has had a popularity spike with the public. You can see it all over Youtube in tv dramas and the ever-popular ID channel and there’s no sign of it ending. There’s something that keeps us tuned into the show, whether you like the storytelling or the thrill you’re hooked! Christie Tcharkhoutian, LMFT, a trauma counselor told Elite Daily “the psychological reason that we are attracted to watching true crime shows is to re-experience traumatic situations in safe environments.” She goes on to say “Many of us know someone or have personally experienced crimes similar to what is displayed in the show. without resolution. Our brains have a need to experience closure and an understanding in all situations.”

When it comes to true crime shows everything is wrapped up in a nice bow and you fully understand the who, what, when, where, and why. Most importantly you don’t have to worry about it happening to you, the killer is caught and your home. But with this logic, you can also become very paranoid if you watch too many True Crime shows. According to an article in the Cleveland Clinic, “Too much true crime ceases to be about curiosity and starts becoming fear-based instead. When we start to feel worried and afraid all the time.” I can attest to that. When I first heard the story of Richard Ramirez a.k.a. the night stalker, I was paranoid of going to bed for a few nights. I would triple check the locks and lay awake at night wondering if this is the night he comes, or someone, comes and ‘gets’ me. I know there are certain stories where it can really mess with your mind. There are multiple stories I can recall that make me super paranoid but I digress.

Global talked to Jooyoung Lee, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Toronto about True Crime binges and he brought to light how watching too much True Crime could desensitize you to trauma and even worse normalize it. Lee said,” We live in a culture that fetishizes sexual assault and murder of women, and these true-crime series are often about that.” Seriously though he has a point. As aggressive and rough sex is becoming more normalized and talked about who’s to say the “nice guy” wouldn’t think all women like that aggression and take it upon themselves? Not saying don’t have rough sex and that people who are into it will do these things but there’s always that one. Lee also mentions that there’s also a strong focus on the killer, not the victims which can lead to people romanticizing the killer. I mean think of Ted Bundy, and all his fans Richard Ramirez had fans, even Jeffery Dahmer had female fans and he was gay, he wouldn’t even like you.

It’s also easy to disassociate with the people on the show. Let’s be honest we think we’re watching a show and sometimes we even say “oh this is one that wasn’t good” completely forgetting that this is a person’s life that was taken and you saying “the story of your murder wasn’t entertaining to me.” What drove this home for me was listening to ‘I survived Ted Bundy; Kathy Kleiner Tells Her Story’ I never watched True Crime the same. It really drove the point home that these people have/had lived, they are loved and cared for, not just a nameless person.

Now, this isn’t to shame anyone. I still listen to some from time to time however it’s good to unplug every now and again. Don’t be like me and listen to them constantly. If you feel yourself becoming paranoid, can’t sleep at night, feeling down, and having troubles functioning it’s time to take a break and watch a comedy and something wholesome, my go-to is Bob’s Burgers. Understand people have their limits and everything is good in moderation.

I hope you enjoyed the read and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!


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