How does watching true crime shows affect our 


Recently, there is a surge in the popularity of true crime shows and podcasts.

Experts, however, warn that watching crime shows impacts mental health negatively. 

The attraction of television crime shows and podcasts 

True crime is the stuff of dark fairy stories and we are all fascinated by the twisted human psychology that brings about such morbid deeds. 

In recent years, much to the delight of true crime fans, a steady stream of true crime-inspired fictional works and documentaries has made its way to OTT platforms. 

These works have reprised serial killers and other shocking crimes from the past centuries into a media format that could be easily consumed in the safety of our homes.   

For instance, take Netflix. The streaming giant has coupled crime dramas with equally thought-provoking documentaries. 

The drama series Dahmer–Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story was supplemented with the docuseries Conversations with a Killer: The Jeffrey Dahmer Tapes

While the reproduction and reminiscence of the horrific incidents have caused outrage amongst the victim’s families, this trend has received great support from the audience. 

How does watching true crime affect the brain? 

The reason why crime dramas are so popular lies in the psychological effects of watching crime shows. The human mind has been an object of endless fascination and such works provide interesting insights into “twisted” human psychology. 

Research positively affirms that such true crime shows help one combat one’s fears of loneliness, darkness, etc. 

It can also be used for entertainment and relaxation from unpleasant distress, frustration, anger, etc., as well as enhance one’s psychological resilience in stressful situations.  

Crime dramas and mental health 

Studies reveal that people who watch such crime shows tend to display dangerous risk-taking behavior and experience 

Did you know that crime shows can increase the probability of anxiety in you? Know all about anxiety below!

poor mental health conditions such as: 

1. Anxiety and panic attack 2. Trauma 3. Obsessive, even addictive, thoughts about crime 4. Paranoia 5. Disturbed sleep 6. Nightmare 7. Hallucinations   8. Negative thought rumination about oneself and the world

Moderating how crime shows affect your brain 

Experts have cautioned against the negative effects of crime stories on mental health, they have also acknowledged that viewing 

these works mindfully, optimally, and cautiously can be beneficial to both your mental health and ability to enjoy quality entertainment.  

For example, you can start by choosing a tolerable type of crime genre carefully and avoiding binge-watching.  

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