Put down the commemorative Meghan Markle and Prince Harry mug and pause that episode of Suits: a psychiatrist has claimed that becoming too emotionally invested (guilty!) in the upcoming royal wedding of the fifth in line to the British throne and the former actress could have an impact upon mental health if taken to the extreme.
Dr Sue Varma, a psychiatrist at NYU’s Langone Medical Center, told Reuters that if a mild “obsession” with the royals — and by extension, other celebrities too — deepens to something stronger, it could cause people to form “parasocial” or one-sided relationships, and develop a desire to change their appearance through plastic surgery.
“I absolutely don’t have a problem with somebody having an obsession with the royal family. I don’t think that’s the problem in and of itself,” Dr Varma, who is a member of the American Psychological Association, told the news outlet. “It’s the lack of other activities, the lack of flexibility, the fact that you’re taking away time from something else. Is this time that you could have been spending with your kids? Is this time you could be talking with your partner?”
“When you start socializing with people that you don’t know, when you don’t have a reciprocal relationship, this is called parasocial. It’s one sided,” she explained. “This is a problem when you’re living in a fantasy world at the expense of creating real relationships.”
According to research conducted by Taram Emrani, a licensed clinical psychologist, our veneration of the royal family is simply human nature. “The British royal family has found a way to stay relevant and be present in the media,” she told In Style in October 2017. “And the way that they portray the family is very relevant to people in that they have a family, they do normal stuff, they go to normal places, although they’re royal.”
“The Duchess recently talked about mental health and hunger and Prince Harry does a lot of charity work and things that people can admire, are inspiring, and feel relevant,” Emrani continued. “We as humans like to look at things that might possibly be better than us. It stimulates something in our brains that says, ‘How can I be that?’ They have the same tools as us, but how are they so distinguished compared to us?” We don’t know, but we sure love them!
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Parts of this post were written by Katie Rosseinsky. It originally appeared on our sister site, Grazia Daily.