Korean drama and movies have gained immense popularity within these few years, garnering more and more non Korean speaking fans worldwide. It is alright if you just watch a show or two for pure entertainment and turn off the remote few minutes afterward.
But if the stories and fairy tale life/ or tragic endings tugs at heartstrings and affect you emotionally that it is slowly becoming an addiction, you may endanger your health- physical, mental and emotion.
Signs that may tell you that the addiction is out of control:
1. You try to finish the entire 20 episode or more in a single sitting .
2. You start to neglect yourself. You sacrifice sleep for few days in order to finish watching the series, and then you rewatch the screens in your favourite episodes…again and again
3. You are willing to sacrifice social life and interaction with your friends and family
4. You ‘grieve’ or even cry after the show is over for days and even weeks until you get your next ‘fix’ whereby you repeat the same vicious cycle of watching again and again
5. You start to lie or call in sick from work/school, watch in the darkness of your room in order to cover your addiction
6. Even when you finally showed up, you are only physically there. You cannot concentrate at school or work and go through life like a zombie till you are able to get your ‘fix’ again
7. Your real life seemed so colourless and meaningless compared to what you had watched. You feel sad and depressed
8. Your philosophy of happiness, true love, ideal body and life are synced with what you learned in the Drama series or Movies.
9. You live beyond your means (even if it means maxing out on your credit cards) in order to get the looks, clothes, lifestyle, car of your favourite Korean movie actor/actresses
10. You start to detest how you look and your life- you are seriously considering plastic surgery
11. After the show is over, you spent hours and hours googling more information about the real life of your favourite characters.
Effects on our health:
- Insufficient sleep suppresses our immune system, making us more susceptible towards being sick, cough, flu or simply catching any bug that comes along.
- Fatigue due to insufficient sleep
- Inability to concentrate or stay mentally focused
- Weight loss- or stomach pains for not eating properly
- Sometimes the opposite- weight gain for eating ‘comfort food’ which watching the soppy scenes. Also due to lack of exercise
- Dehydration as one tend to forget to drink water once one is engaged in a serial movie or drama marathon (attempting to watch all in one sitting)
- Lower back pain/ neck pain from sitting or lying too long/ wrong posture
- Worsen one’s eyesight gets as the eyes never get the chance to rest.
- Affect the hearing if earphones are being used to replace the audio (sometimes students studying for exam tend to want to hide it from their parents that they are watching so they use earphones)
- Depression or emotional sadness when one could not cope with the ending or feel very sad that the movie had ended
How Korean dramas/movies tugs at our heartstrings
Korean dramas and movies have that special effect, sometimes surpassing Hollywood blockbuster movies. The only thing standing between the Korean movies reaching worldwide popularity is the language barrier- which is getting no more of an issue with English subtitles available at KBS channel.
By watching the body language, gesture and tone of voice of the actor and actresses, even with basic English translation you would be able to understand the gist or message of the show. Korean drama series and movies are now being translated into a few languages by the official channels as well as fans: English, Mandarin, Spanish, Vietnamese and Thai.
These shows have a profound effect on many is because the emotion intensity that accompanies these dramas. This proves that the best movies need not require high budget production. Merely if the show is intense enough and conveys something that touches and trigger a strong emotion reaction from the viewer, it is sufficient.
Some Korean dramas/movies like Flowers & Sword (or was it Petals and Swords or Blade) comes with tragic ending, movies such as II Mare, A Moment to Remember- does not require high budget to produce but due to its ending can leave a strong sadness in the heart of the viewers. The IIMare is the same as The Lakehouse starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves and many people agree that the Korean version left a more lasting impact on them- even though most rely on the English subtitles.
Addiction Going Out of Hand
However, you are treading on dangerous ground if your addiction is going out of control when you become so obsessed that you start to neglect your health, sleep, work studies and social life.
It may come to a breaking point when you finally decide enough is enough and you want to break the addiction or obsession towards Korean drama series.
Also, the shows are dramatic, and the actor/actresses portrayed in the shows have perfect bodies, faces, life. It may one into obsession to follow them.
Understanding the root cause of this addiction
If the after effects of finishing the drama series throws you into feelings of despair, bring you tears and make you feel very sad for days or weeks , some said it could be signs of chronic depression. Some reported that after not sleeping for a day or two to finish watching the entire drama series, they feel sad, loss and helpless, not knowing what to do.
Perhaps one feel very sad that the show is over and one do not know what happens to the characters afterwards. If it is a tragic ending, you may mourn for the ‘loss’ and if it is a happy ending, you may try to imagine the life after that.
Even though your logical mind, and the disclaimer on the show tells you that the ‘the characters and story line are purely fictional and any resemblance to real life is a coincidence’. ….your emotions override all feelings of logic.
Often one would tend to cover up for these feelings of misery by quickly starting another drama, then another, then another. Till one day you feel you’ve had enough and wanted to break the addiction. That may be what that causes you to find this article.
In the next article, we will explore into some ways of breaking this addiction/ obsession.