Consuming too much bad news from doomscrolling can lead to worse physical and mental health, a new study suggests

By | 10/09/2022

Key takeaways:

  • Consuming news can be a adept way to stay involved and informed, but too much news tin can cause stress.

  • High stress from bad news can lead to unwanted mental and physical health conditions.

  • Setting boundaries on your news and news sources tin assistance limit the unwanted effects of bad news. Seeking out positive news and focusing on self-care tin can reverse the unwanted symptoms.

Young man reading the news on his tablet at home. He has his hand on his forehead in distress.
FluxFactory/East+ via Getty Images

Staying up-to-date on electric current events and news helps you become a more informed person. With this cloth, you can brand better decisions and stay engaged in the community and country.

But y’all could have too much of a good affair. Consuming too much news, peculiarly negative or sensationalized stories, could hurt your mental health.

Go along reading to larn more virtually the bear on of overreading news and means to find a healthy balance.

Is reading or watching too much news bad for your mental health?

Most people are affected by
bad news. Whether something unfortunate happens to your neighbour, your favorite sports team, or your country, bad news can go out an impact on your listen and torso.

Ideally, you would receive small doses of bad news and and then have days, weeks, or months before receiving more bad news. This way, yous tin can apply healthy coping skills to recover from the pain of the bad news before the next wave comes.

Unfortunately, people today are overly exposed to bad news. You lot might notice a flood of bad news coming from:

  • Television and documentaries

  • Newspapers

  • Websites

  • Radio and podcasts

  • Social media

Bad news and exposure to the 24-hour news wheel of bad news leads to college levels of stress. It seems that the stress is growing.

In 2017, more
half of people
surveyed said the news caused them high stress. Another survey from 2014, found that xl% of people said the news was one of their summit stressors.

Why are people drawn to bad news?

If bad news causes stress, why do so many people eat such high amounts? It turns out that something chosen
negativity bias
could exist to blame.

Negativity bias refers to the thought that people tend to place greater emphasis on negative events or data than positive ones. Information technology developed as a class of protection. During ancient times, people stayed safer by focusing on the possibility of negative outcomes. Instead of relaxing equally a bear approached, your ancestors reacted with caution and stress.

Negativity bias worked well back and so. Just now it is no longer needed in the same way. Rather than keeping you safe, negativity bias causes you to feel more anxious and focus on the scary, uncertain, or uncontrollable parts.

You may seek out and react to bad news faster than good news. Bad news tin hurt your mental wellness much more good news can help it.

What is ‘doomscrolling’?

Ane modern example of negativity bias is doomscrolling. While doomscrolling, you spend excessive amounts of time reading through bad news on social media or news websites.

With the seemingly countless amounts of bad news available, you tin can spend hours doomscrolling, even though it only feels similar minutes. All of this bad news triggers more than stress.

What are the negative furnishings of consuming too much news?

Consuming too much bad news can create loftier levels of stress. Stress tin can event in poorer self-care. Y’all could fail your sleep, diet, and exercise goals. And you could
also feel worse overall.

How does too much bad news affect your mental health?

Too much news tin touch your mental health in straight and indirect means. Exposure to bad news increases stress and
stress can cause
or contribute to:

  • Increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body

  • Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Depressive symptoms, similar loneliness and hopelessness

  • Anxiety symptoms, including fear, worry, and concrete tension

  • Difficulty trusting others

  • Lower quality and amount of sleep

With college depression and anxiety, your job, your relationships, and other aspects of your life could suffer. You might find yourself distracted, moody, and impulsive.

It’due south important to remember that these effects can terminal long after the news is over. Just because you turn off the Television set or put downwards your telephone does non mean these negative effects disappear.

How does too much bad news bear on your concrete health?

Stress often
affects physical health
in add-on to mental health. The high stress connected to also much news tin cause:

  • Headaches

  • Aches and pains

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Sexual problems

  • Fatigue

  • Weight changes

  • Sexual issues

With enough consumption of news, the stress becomes chronic, which can enhance the take chances of more serious bug like:

  • High blood pressure

  • Center disease

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Skin problems

  • Menstrual problems

Worse, if you already accept any of these issues, the stress from too much news will intensify your symptoms. Your sexual problems could go from occasional to constant due to the furnishings of news consumption.

Who is at the nigh gamble from bad news?

The harms of bad news do not affect all people evenly. Some groups will feel more than distress from news consumption than others:

  • Women:
    Women study much higher stress levels than men from news.

  • Black and Hispanic men:
    Black and Hispanic men written report higher stress levels than white men.

  • Social media users:
    Those using multiple social media sites are three times more likely to suffer anxiety and depression than others.

So, a woman who is more active on social media volition be more likely to experience stress from news than a white man who does not use social media.

Can yous be addicted to bad news?

Currently, there is no mental health disorder related to news habit. The ongoing desire to watch news, even though it’due south harming you, does share similarities to
behavioral addictions, though.

Experts exercise know that consuming news can influence the same brain chemicals associated with addiction. In this way, watching the news could be a lot like:

  • Gambling

  • Sex

  • Shopping

  • Dieting

  • Video game addiction

A person who consumes too much news is like a person with a
substance use disorder
or a gambling disorder. This is because they will continue the behavior, even when it interferes with their relationships, task, and happiness. Just considering there is no diagnosis does non hateful excessive news consumption is not a problem for you.

Tips on how to have a healthy and constructive relationship to the news

You may need to take action to accost your human relationship with the news if it is becoming too stressful. Consider these tips for understanding and improving your relationship with the news:

  • Reflect on your relationship.
    Does the news create a lot of anger, sadness, or stress? If and so, the human relationship needs to change.

  • Add together more good news.
    You lot need a lot of good news to residue out the bad. Make information technology a signal to find positive reports and stories.

  • Limit your time.
    Become an idea of the time you devote to news and begin cut back. Reduce your
    total amount of screen time
    or only consume at certain times of day.

  • Limit your sources.
    So many news options can offering many different points of view. Search for sources of data that seem fair and authentic without causing excessive stress in you lot.

  • Consider a news fast.
    A news fast is a set period of time that you avoid all news. Yous tin can practice this for a mean solar day, week, or month. Or yous could choose to but eat news on certain days of the calendar week. Similar with addictions, some people cannot find moderation, and so cutting out all news could be your best choice.

Someday y’all need boosted assistance with a stressful situation, consult with your loved ones. If you demand professional person assistance,
consider a therapist
to address and modify your situation.

The bottom line

News is a good thing. But, like other proficient aspects of life, you can take it as well far. Take the steps to accept and alter the way you lot interact with news. Staying informed is of import. But staying healthy is essential.

GoodRx Health has strict sourcing policies and relies on primary sources such as medical organizations, governmental agencies, academic institutions, and peer-reviewed scientific journals. Learn more than about how we ensure our content is authentic, thorough, and unbiased by reading our editorial guidelines.

Was this page helpful?

Habits for a Healthier Mind!
Sign up for our GoodRx Mental Well-beingness Newsletter to receive upwards-to-appointment information on the latest medications, tips, and savings that are most relevant to you lot.

By signing up, I hold to GoodRx’due south
Privacy Policy, and to receive marketing messages from GoodRx.