How Does Listening To True Crime Affect Your Mental Health?

It's true what they say: paranoia will destroy ya. And if you've been feeling a bit more on edge than usual, it's because, yes, they are out to get you, don't even think about going outside. Just kidding. It's most likely because you need to stop listening to podcasts like Crime Junkie and My Favorite Murder. Press pause. Go outside. Take a walk.

If that sounds easier said than done, then you definitely need to lay off the true crime. That's the recommendation of the health professionals at the Cleveland Clinic, at least. But don't worry. Just because you can't help but give into the delicious curiosity of knowing the mind of a psycho, it doesn't mean you are one yourself.

Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Chivonna Childs said that it's only natural to be intrigued by stories of true crime. "It's human nature to be inquisitive," she said. "True crime appeals to us because we get a glimpse into the mind of a real person who has committed a heinous act."

However, like anything, indulging in this often guilty pleasure should be done in moderation. They may offer ways to deal with dangerous situations, but too much true crime can have a negative effect on your mental health. Let's take a look into the cons of listening to all those gruesome true crime podcasts.

Listening to true crime can indeed have negative effects on your mental health

One of the negative effects of listening to too much true crime is feeling a heightened sense of anxiety. As Very Well Mind notes, there could be an evolutionary advantage to a healthy helping of anxiety in your life, but some people can end up feeling this emotion to the extreme.

Some true crime junkies may end up feeling scared all the time, endlessly worrying about all the worst case scenarios possible. It could even get so bad that you don't even feel safe in your own home. "If you're double-checking and rechecking locks and doors, consider whether your true crime habit has started to interfere with your life," said Dr. Childs.

You might start feeling wary of other people, questioning everyone's reasons for doing what they do. If you start thinking the nice lady at the gas station has dark, ulterior motives, you might have a true crime problem. You may have a rapid heartbeat or hyperventilate. Or you may feel nervous, stressed, or depressed without a clear cause behind any of these emotions. "You're body is going to tell you how much is too much," said Dr. Childs.

But again, don't worry. You don't have to quit true crime cold turkey and for good. Just mix in a little comedy every now and then. Crack open a good book. Go for a bike ride. Then when you've calmed down a bit, you can come back and entertain yourself by exploring the depths of human depravity via your favorite true crime podcast.