How to overcome addiction towards Korean Drama and Movies

Last Updated on April 19, 2023

This article is a continuation of the previous article that was published earlier.  In the previous article, we have gone into how to identify if one is an addict, the health implications, and why these movies/dramas effect us so much.

This article would cover some hope and insight to help us overcome this ‘obsession’ that may ruin our lives if left to run out of control.

Like any addiction or obsession, it is possible to break or overcome. At least is to manage it.


How other people overcome their addiction

Before I go into some suggestions of how to break the cycle, let’s share on how others had successfully broken the cycle:

1. They’ve gotten sick of being addicted and stop watching….cold turkey. After seeing how it affects their life, they do not want to be such a helpless position

2. They occupy themselves with other tasks/ distractions from the telly.
3. Sometimes this is involuntary- they get thrown into a situation or a place with no internet connection or access to the DVDs- and this forced them to break the habit
4. They woke up from the illusion of these movies/dramas, and work towards getting a real life instead of living in a fantasy.
5. They fall in love and lose interest in watching TV.
6. Sometimes something bad happened that shattered them from their illusion and woke them up from rose-tinted glasses
7. They go through personal growth and realize their real life is more interesting and worth much more investing their time in

Maybe you think, ‘well, these fellas did it. Good for them. For me it is next to imposible.’

Some realities that you need to know about movie business

Before you go and get plastic surgery or become bulimic/aneroxic in order to look like your favourite stars, do read this….

The stories are not real. Most of them are fictional. Okay, so “Romeo and Juliet” is supposed to be from a true story. But what happened was between Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet. Not with _______ (your full name here). 

What is acted in the movies are just….act. Make believe. Drama plots intensified with appropriate music, at the right time and moment.  The drama shown in movies and drama does not happen in real life- even if some of the events do, they do not happen in such dramatic succession.

Yet, actor and actresses must assume and ‘get into’ the character they are playing. The most gifted actor/actresses does not require mint to be placed in the eyes in order to cry at the scene.  When they cry, they really cry from the heart by reliving a sad experience that brought tears to them.
Their profession requires them to always live into the role that they are playing. Ironically the more talented and good they are in doing this, they may not also be able to draw the line between what is real and what is not. Therefore, it comes in no surprise that most of their personal life are negatively affected. Scandals, affairs and broken marriages are common.

Furthermore, if you look deeper, perhaps it is not the Korean movie star whom you are crazy about or seemingly in love with. It is the ideal and image of that perfect person that the movie star represents. It is not real love because you may grow out of that person or change to another idol. Think about it, if you are really in love, how can you begin to idolize someone else. You were probably in love with the idea of fairytale love and not the actual person itself.

Your favourite idol is idolized based on the public persona, body and acting abilities. The moment she appears without make-up, put on weight or have some kind of horrible scandal, she would easily lose fans. But in your real life, a person whom fall for you (okay even though he may have a little too much love handles and basically a piece of wood), is loving you for who you are. If you have not found him/her, there’s your family and friends- who know you for who you are, warts and all and accept you….for the imperfect person you are.

Even your favourite movie stars, they are being idolized not for who they really are but the symbol of fairytale romance. So much that they themselves may also end up with disillusionment. And because they are so used to acting, much of the drama in the roles they play gets absorbed into their mind, whether consciously or subconsciously. In other words, they may get lost in their own web.

But showbiz is a very competitive. It is a cruel world as many wants to achieve fame, fortune or being idolized. The money, fame are often shortlived and many stars fade out of the limelight. Even if they can sustain the popularity for a decade or more, they would be relegated to supporting roles as they grow older.

What I am trying to say is that: the real life of movie stars ARE NOTHING TO BE ENVIED OVER.  Instead of envying and wishing you are a movie star, wake up to the fact that your real life is much better. You would not be brought into extreme fame, fortune that cause disillusionment.

Many stars go into drug/alcohol abuse, depression, broken marriage when they either could not cope with ongoing fame or the loss of it. Some smart ones, after earning enough or meeting true love happily fall out from the limelight.
We’ve seen the rise and fall of stars- popularity and fame is not forever.  The showbiz creates a web of illusion for many who are in it.

Eliminating or at least managing the addiction

I understand, after reading all the above and previous article, you still cannot convince your emotional heart to break free from this….you know it is bad but …you can’t.

The actual root cause- understand and be mindful of the emotional triggers.
The cause of the addiction are NOT the movies or dramas.

Why these shows trigger reaction like sadness, mourning, tears and depression, even those with happy endings is that there is an underlying emotional issue that we are sub-consciously trying to repress.

Most of us do not like to deal with it- as it may involve fears that scare the heck out of us. Or it invoke childhood inadequacies, possibly starting from childhood. Or feelings of loneliness, emptiness in our live that we are not willing to address.

Don’t feel bad or overwhelmed. Reason why showbiz can do so well is that they know how to pull the heartstrings through an expert  balance of talents, plot, music and unexpected turns. A show that pulls at the heartstrings would gross at the box office.

Still, the addiction is just a symptom of something deeper. Overcome it and not only it solved the addiction, but we find other areas of our lives like career and interpersonal relationships improve as well.

Suggestion # 1- Distract Yourself

Start by making changes to our personal life. If we have enough going on in our personal life, enough worthwhile goals and healthy relationships, our addiction over these shows would wane. I’ve been in the corporate world for many years and the most successful people with work-life balance are NOT movie addicts. In fact, they seldom have time to watch TV. We can be like them if we choose to.

Start with baby steps:

• Start a new hobby
• Take up a course or learn new skills
• Learn a new language
• Write a blog
• Set some achievable goals and progress from there
• Volunteer in a cause that we believe in
• Start meeting and joining other social groups
• Join a group exercise class- exercise can create positive feelings that can potentially replace the euphoria that one get from movies

Suggestion # 2- Make a Deal with yourself

Ok, if you really MUST  watch the show or else you would feel that you would not survive, just like a fish out of water would, perhaps you can make a deal with yourself.  A reasonable one.

You must have a plan and strategy.


You allow yourself to watch just one movie or one/two episodes per day. But to earn that you must complete certain tasks- stuff that you like to do but tend to put off. These tasks could be something you are doing that is taking you towards your goal. You may draw out the week’s schedule before hand with tasks that you need to complete. And the movie/drama becomes something to look forward to at the end as a ‘reward’ for a good job done.

A reward for keeping your side of the bargain. As you make your own commitments and stick to them, you would learn to respect yourself more. And have more self confidence that you can indeed succeed or complete what you are doing. Perhaps after that, your life takes on a new colour that you lose interest in watching these movies.

 Breaking the addiction to Korean Movie Dramas can be liken to going for a weight loss program.

It ain’t going to be a walk in the park.  It would be challenging and even though you may be tempted to give up, you need to hang on there.

If you read the success stories of those who have lost weight and managed to keep it off for 10 years, there are some good lessons to pick up from there. There are ‘cheat days’ (maybe one or two days in a week) where they get to indulge more.

Going cold turkey- like staying away from watching totally is torturing- like those going on a diet totally and absolutely giving up on their favourite food and start to starve themselves.  When they do that, they feel miserable and one day when that self control snap, they would eat and probably end up even putting more weight.

Some people went on yo-yo diet all their lives until finally they come to terms of their issue and are able to make compromises to achieve the ideal weight. Discipline, will-power, a plan and goals. Then they start to see results. Same with the KDrama addiction- as mentioned earlier, the real cause or culprit is not the director or the writer or the cast, but is within we ourselves.

If one finds that one suffers from depression, please seek professional help.

I want to leave you with a very good article written by a Buddhist monk Ajahn Jagaro called Beyond Boredom and Depression.  Some quotes from the simple, yet profound article that may apply to K-addicts who may feel so bored with their real life:

Boredom simply means that we are not interested. The situation, the way things are, is of no interest to us. We say we are bored, or most often we say, “This is boring. This is a really boring place. This is a boring movie. This is a boring talk. This is a boring book. That is a boring person”… and so on. We keep pointing out there. The quality of being boring is seen as something external. This is the first thing I would like to challenge. I disagree with this statement that the quality of being boring is something external. “There is nothing boring” is a correct statement, as is “everything is equally boring.” They are both correct statements in accordance with reality.

Boredom results from nothing other than one’s own mind. There is nothing boring, but there are bored minds. The mind is bored. This is very important for us to appreciate and consider, otherwise we will always be saying, “This is a boring place, something is wrong with the place. This is a boring book, something is wrong with the book, let’s get another one. Fix up the boring book by throwing it out and getting another, more interesting one.” That is how we approach life. We treat boredom by changing the circumstances, trying to make them more interesting. We never really address the true cause or essence of the problem.

It is very important to understand that the source of boredom is within your own mind. The consequence of not understanding this is that you will forever be trying to avoid boredom by finding new situations and new, exciting experiences.


How many times have you felt bored stiff in your own house? The fact is, most people do feel bored quite often.

The point is that it is not necessarily the situation which is boring, but the state of mind which finds it ordinary, no longer stimulating, no longer interesting to know. The situation doesn’t excite, it doesn’t arouse any sort of interest in us, so we go into a passive state of boredom, thinking, ‘I want something else, I want to experience something else, I want to be somewhere else. I am bored.’ This is a very common experience.

The way we normally treat this is by finding new experiences, seeking something new. That is what we are being encouraged to do, to get something new. You are bored, so you go out and get something new: new dress, new wardrobe, new car, new video, new movie. In order not to be bored you just keep on getting something new.

What is this process and where is it leading us? What is it doing to us? It is making us less and less sensitive, less and less content, and less and less able to feel the zest of being alive, except in rare situations when we find something new, when we go somewhere new. The result of this is that most of life becomes boring. More and more of life is going to become boring if you continue to follow this trend.

Rich people, people who have been everywhere and done everything, quite often feel bored. It is so hard to find something that will stimulate them. Once you have eaten every type of cuisine, once you have been to every restaurant in Melbourne, it must be very boring. “Where can I go to have an interesting night out?” Once you have seen every programme… “Oh dear, nothing interesting on television. So boring.” You become more and more bored because you’ve become more and more jaded, more and more insensitive, dependent on more and more stimulation. The youth of today suffer from this. It is not only the youth, but the youth are going to feel it more, because they are being raised with such a high degree of stimulation.


 So the most desirable thing is the one thing that you want now. But of course, it is never the same for very long, it changes. No matter what you want, once you get it you don’t want it anymore. You want something else. Even if you don’t get it, the desire for it may last a bit longer, but soon you will want something else.


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