Television Affective Disorders

Yesterday, I discussed screen fixation and its relationship both to attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Today, I’d like to focus on several affective disorders. Psychologists have described seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) – depression related to shorter winter days. I have personally noted several other widespread affective disorders related to television viewing. Together, they fall under the general heading of T.A.D. (television affective disorders).

couplewatchingtvinbedAny woman who has ever tried to tear her boyfriend or husband away from Sports Center at 2 a.m. has experienced a malady called Male Affective Disorder (M.A.D.). Male symptoms include restlessness, decreased libido, excessive consumption of Doritos, general irritability when distracted, high blood pressure during fourth quarters, and loud, uncontrolled outbursts of verbal epithets when referees make idiotic calls.

These, in turn, create F.A.D. (Female Affective Disorder). F.A.D. symptoms in the female include cold shoulders, a hyperactive grumble gland, pouting, elevated temper, door slamming, excessive re-reading of Jane Eyre, sleeping at the opposite end of the house, tightly crossed legs, excessive consumption of chocolate, and expensive trips to Tiffany & Co.

In extreme cases, both M.A.D. and F.A.D. have been known to enrich divorce lawyers. Physicians urge intervention before this happens. The only known cure is for the female to confiscate the remote before the male becomes fixated on the screen and distract the male by hiding the remote in her bra.

This can sometimes lead to B.A.D. (Bedtime Affective Delight). As the male attempts to recover the remote, he playfully tears clothes off the female. This focuses his attention fully on her. Symptoms include heavy breathing; flushed cheeks; racing hearts; heightened arousal; spontaneous clutching; sudden, uncontrolled release of tension; prolonged snuggling; and deeper-than-normal sleep followed by Sports Center at 4 a.m.

M.A.D., F.A.D. and B.A.D. represent proof positive that television can affect relationships in both negative and positive ways. As these phenomena are so widely observed and well documented in households across America, I see little need for further study.

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