Celebrity worship syndrome: How It Impacts Our Mental Health

Did you ever meet someone who was truly obsessed with a particular celebrity? You might have even thought they knew the celebrity in question. Celebrity Worship Syndrome is the unofficial name for people who get a little too enthusiastic about their favorite stars. While it sounds funny, the truth is that it can be a serious sign of mental health issues in certain people.

Celebrity Worship Syndrome?

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Celebrity Worship Syndrome is the term for an unusual obsession or preoccupation with a particular celebrity or fandom. Unlike regular fandoms, CWS is a serious fanaticism that stems from a one-sided relationship with a celebrity.

It’s obsessive, compulsive, and highly addictive. It’s not officially a diagnosis, but it’s still mentioned in medical groups.

Parasocial vs. Social

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Regular social relationships go both ways. Both parties are aware of one another. You can call them up to kvetch. Parasocial relationships are one-sided. The celebrity has no idea who you are, or might know you as “that guy in the comments.” And yet, you feel like you got some socialization out of it. You feel like you know them as people or like they’ve become a part of your life.

Fandoms Explained

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Fandoms are a form of parasocial relationship. Not all celebrity fandoms are bad. Being a major fan of a TV show, musician, or celebrity can be a good way to bond with friends. If you’re just an avid follower of Kim Kardashian or something similar, you’re probably totally fine. Celebrity Worship Syndrome occurs when people’s obsession starts getting in the way of daily life.

Why?

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Celebrity Worship Syndrome is a parasocial relationship that gets obsessive. Parasocial relationships are one-sided relationships where a viewer sees a celebrity perform. Over time, people feel a one-sided connection with that celebrity. In some cases, it may be an addictive admiration. In other cases, they may feel like they are truly connected to the celebrity in question.

But Why?

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The easiest explanation is that people are lonely. When people don’t get the social relationships they need, they start to turn to parasocial relationships. To people with Celebrity Worship Syndrome, their obsession may be a way to assuage anxiety, feel some form of control, or even feel a connection to another person.

Marketing Too

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Our society also encourages celebrity worship. Marketing plans for public figures often include methods that increase parasocial connections, including statements to fans or special “hangout sessions” with fans. Taylor Swift, in particular, is famous for her “BFF” parasocial relationships.

Are These Healthy?

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At times, parasocial relationships can be healthy. We all know people who bond over their favorite football team or their favorite Rolling Stones songs. However, there’s growing evidence that parasocial relationships are becoming too commonplace. Worse, people are increasingly unable to realize these relationships are one-sided.

If you have Celebrity Worship Syndrome, it’s become an unhealthy addiction to celeb gossip.

More Internet-Dependent

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Studies show that more internet-dependent people are more likely to be in parasocial relationships. However, many people believe that parasocial relationships can actually encourage internet dependence. This can lead to isolation, difficulty with regular relationships, and worsened mental health.

Delusions

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Celebrity Worship Syndrom has the potential to turn into delusional thinking. You might think a celebrity owes you their time, that you’re actually friends, or that you have some kind of control over them. It’s not unusual for delusional fans to believe they’re in a romantic relationship with a celebrity, or to become “rabid” over the fandom.

Comparisons

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Another way Celebrity Worship Syndrome can impact others deals with comparing oneself to a celebrity. People who spend thousands to look like the celebrity of their choice might have this syndrome. In most cases, this form of celebrity worship can lead to body dysmorphia or botched surgeries. It’s never a “good look.”

Isolation

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It’s no secret that too much celebrity obsession can push others away. While your significant other might be okay with a gossip rag or two around the house, they won’t be pleased about you talking about the celebrity 24/7. If you prioritize a celebrity over your real-life friendships, your friendships will wither away.

After all, your friends want to be a major part of your life. Being second banana to someone who doesn’t know you is quite hurtful.

Watch Yourself

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Celebrity fandoms can be safe, though it’s more of a spectrum. If you’re starting to notice a growing obsession with a particular person, you should get therapy and take a little time for yourself. At the end of the day, your real life and your real friends are going to be what matters—not what your favorite celebrity does.

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