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Is Your Obsession With Celebrities Unhealthy?

Is Your Obsession With Celebrities Unhealthy?

Jennifer Lawrence is not your best friend.  Anne Hathaway is not your enemy.  I know, the truth hurts.

For the sake of full disclosure, I totally want to be Jennifer Lawrence’s best friend, and Anne Hathaway stirs feelings of dislike for me.

I’m not proud of it, yet I don't think I'm alone. Whether we love them or hate them, we tend to magnify celebrities' places in our lives.

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The fact is, feeling closer than we are to the stars is not unhealthy, at least for a majority of us. Through the media, reality shows and social networking, it's easier than ever to keep up with celebs in real time. That kind of access creates what's known as "the illusion of intimacy," says Cooper Lawrence, author of "The Cult of Celebrity."

The direct access that many celebs makes us privy to many details of their lives. And as Lawrence points out, many stars aren't exactly shy about sharing what outfits they're wearing, what food they are eating or what they are doing. We no longer have to rely solely on infomation from a star's publicist, but are given a virtual front-row seat to their feurs, heartbreaks, successes and failures. This backstage pass into at least parts of their lives leaves us with a feeling of knowing them personally.

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Most of the time, this behavior is harmless. As Lawrence points out, the more common problem is with what she refers to as "celebrity woshippers." Intense levels or adoration for a celebrity can be linked to depression and anxiety, she says.

As Dr. Jeff Gardere, psychologist and creator of Healthy Divorce App, points out, problems can arise if the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur. It can be particularly dangerous, he adds, if you start to expect something in return.

The bottom line is this: you probably don't have an actual relationship with any celebrity, but it’s OK to pretend… so long as you know where to draw the line.  Continue to follow your favorite starts on Twitter and Facebook, but don’t let their posts trick you into thinking they want to be friends with you.  The fact is, they just want you to like them enough to KEEP them famous. And that's a wrap.

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