How to Break a TV Addiction

Learn how to break a TV addiction from Dr. Paul Hokemeyer in this Howcast video.


Up next in How to Understand Addiction (82 videos)

People can become addicted to almost anything -- alcohol, drugs, sex, TV, the Internet, food, gambling. In this video series, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer discusses every kind of addiction and how you can overcome them -- or help a loved one break his addiction.




Many people come to me saying that they have spent an enormous amount of time watching TV. They even say to me, I'm addicted to television. Typically it comes in the form of a particular show. I'm addicted to this show, or I'm addicted to that show. What I find in talking to them more is that they're using TV to manage their uncomfortable emotions. They're depending on television to fill a role that they could be filling with other, healthier things. For instance, instead of losing themselves in TV for hours and hours, they could be having a meaningful conversation with a friend. They could be exercising. They could be doing something healthier for themselves. In breaking a TV addiction, it's important, first of all, to recognize that you have a problem with it, and then begin to figure out ways to contain your TV use, and maybe even take TV out of your life. Again, we know that we can't just take something out without putting something in. If you take out the TV, we need to make sure we're putting something healthier in. Instead of going home from work, after a stressful day, sitting down and losing yourself to four, six, eight, or ten hours of television, tell yourself that before you turn on the TV, you're going to take a walk around the block. You're going to call a friend, or you're going to meet a friend after work. In this way, you're putting in an action that's healthier and more beneficial for your TV use and limiting the effect, and the impact that this television has in your life.


  • Dr. Paul Hokemeyer

    Dr. Paul Hokemeyer is a licensed marriage and family therapist based at Caron Treatment Center’s NYC office. In addition to holding a Ph.D. in Psychology, Dr. Hokemeyer holds a doctorate in the law. A nationally-recognized expert on family dynamics and addictions, Dr. Hokemeyer is on the panel of experts for The Dr. Oz Show, where he writes a bi-monthly blog. He also regularly contributes to CNN Headline News, Good Morning America, The Today Show, truTV and Oprah Radio. He authors a bi-weekly column for Telluride Inside Out titled "Shrink Wrap" and is a national spokesperson for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.