“True crime” takes a mental toll, psychologists say

Too much true-crime content can lead to anxiety, paranoia, and hypervigilance
Psychologists say the genre can increase anxiety, paranoia, and hyper-vigilance.
Published: Oct. 19, 2023 at 6:27 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - It might be a good idea to limit how much “true crime” content you’re consuming, either on TV or podcasts. Psychologists say too much of the “true crime” genre can lead to anxiety and paranoia.

Cleveland Clinic psychologist Chivonna Childs says your view of the world can easily change if you’re constantly consuming grisly murder stories. They can make you overly wary of others -- even people you’ve known and trusted for a long time.

At home, Childs says true crime fans may find themselves triple-checking their locks at night or not being able to fall asleep.

She says these feelings of heightened anxiety can lead to isolation, which is not good for our overall mental health.

These are signs you may need to take a break from the genre.

“Notice when you’ve had too much. If you’re more than hypervigilant, if your anxiety is increased, if you’re fearful of leaving your home, if you start to isolate and you’re thinking more about the true crime than you think about anything else, it’s time to take a break,” Childs said.

The key takeaway is: Moderation is key, and know when it’s time to take a break. A good idea is to explore different genres or other hobbies in the interim.