Television addicts are a relatively new breed, especially since television itself has only been around for about 50 years, nowhere near as long as alcohol, tobacco and drugs. But make no mistake about it, television addiction is quite real and most people don't even know that they are addicted to it.
Television is different from most other addictions in that it mostly stems from something lacking in the person's life rather than from an addictive personality.
The sad truth is, many people have what most of us consider empty lives. They get up, go to work, come home and go to sleep. Maybe the weekends are a little different in that they might go for a drive, do some shopping or maybe even take in a movie. But the truth is, many people's lives are quite routine and quite boring. When they walk through the door at 6 pm, or whenever it is they arrive from the office, the first thing they do is turn on the television. This is especially true if the person lives alone. But the reasons why may surprise you.
It's not that they can't wait to watch their favorite program, as television addicts don't have a favorite program, it's that they can't stand the deafening silence. Walking into that empty house or apartment and hearing absolutely nothing can just about drive the television addict mad. So the first thing that goes on is the TV, if for no other reason than to kill the silence. That's how television addiction usually starts. But it's not how it ends.
The TV addict begins to look forward to each hour as there is certain to be a show on that he or she enjoys. Two shows on at the same time? No problem with digital cable and TIVO where you can record a number of things at one time and watch them later on. With all the different forms or entertainment on the tube, a TV addict can spend hours on end watching without even working up a sweat.
The real problems begin when the television addict tries to turn off the tube to go to bed. They can't. There's always one more show to watch. There's always one more stupid commercial to laugh at. And nowadays, with cable, TV goes on all night as opposed to the old days when stations actually went off the air after a certain hour with their now long forgotten "This now ends the broadcast day of the National Broadcasting Company" that you'd have to be at least in your 40s to remember. Today, TV is a 24/7 business.
Sadly, television addicts spend almost all their time in front of the tube other than when they have to go to work, do the shopping or whatever else needs to be done that will take them away from their addiction. And if you think these people aren't really addicted, just try taking their television away from them for a day. It is not a pretty sight.
Television addiction is serious. Unfortunately there is very little help for the addict as it is not really considered a serious problem by professionals in general.
At least not yet.