Conspiracy theories are when people believe that an event or situation is a result of an action by a powerful and sinister group – despite other explanations being more likely. What’s more, from the first man landing on the moon to Princess Diana’s death, there’s a whole host of conspiracy theories floating around.

Here, we explore the idea of conspiracy theory addiction and reveal what you can do if you think you’re suffering from it.


What is a Conspiracy Theory?

As mentioned above, a conspiracy theory is a belief that a certain person or powerful organisation is responsible for a certain event or circumstance. Usually, there’s a more realistic explanation for the event but it doesn’t stop some people from believing the conspiracy theory.

While they can take shape in all manner of forms, most conspiracy theories involve social or political events. It might be that a certain celebrity who is alleged to have died is actually still alive or that a certain group is planning to overthrow the government.

What’s more, there will usually be a few different conspiracy theories for each event and, when an individual becomes so obsessed with finding out the truth, it can have a negative impact on the body and mind.


Can You Become Addicted to Conspiracy Theories?

Put simply, yes you can become addicted to conspiracy theories. Known as a conspiracy theory addiction, this type of addiction is actually a behavioural addiction. This means the individual engages in behaviours, without using substances, that they believe bring rewards – such as gambling, gaming, shopping and even workaholism.

Just like other addictions, the addict doesn’t understand the consequences of their behaviour and doesn’t realise the impact of their addiction on their mind and body as well as personal and professional life. What’s more, similar to other addictions, a conspiracy theory addiction can be explained as doing something that has a negative impact on you or the people around you but that you can’t stop doing it.

Conspiracy theory addiction goes much deeper than thinking there’s an alternative reason behind a certain event or circumstance though. It can also negatively impact the way an individual views an event and can result in spiralling negative attitudes. Instead of being able to analyse information and sources, the person suffering from the addiction can struggle with a cycle of disempowerment and distrust. This can make it difficult for them to determine the difference between false theories and real threats.

Some common symptoms of conspiracy theory addiction include:

  • Anxiety and fear
  • Loss of control
  • An obsession to make sense of complex topics and unrelated events
  • An urge to make connections between events
  • Alienation and disengagement from society
  • Low self-esteem and isolation

If the above symptoms or the interest in conspiracy theories begins to impact an individual’s day-to-day life, they may be struggling with a conspiracy theory addiction.


What are the Risks Associated with Conspiracy Theories?

There are a number of short-term and long-term effects of conspiracy theory addiction – both on the brain and body. Studies have shown that believing in conspiracy theories usually comes down to an individual wanting to be in control, understood and socially connected. However, rarely does this happen.

Instead, an obsession with believing conspiracy theories and going in search of the perceived truth can actually result in confusion, loneliness and isolation. Negative feelings towards the conspiracy theory, and the alleged group of people or individuals who caused the event or circumstance, can lead to even more negative emotions too.

This can mean the person struggling with the addiction can become even more isolated.


Impact of Conspiracy Theories on Health

The emotional impact of the conspiracy addiction theory mentioned above can soon begin to take its toll physically. As the individual becomes so caught up in proving the conspiracy theory and the behavioural addiction takes control, they can soon begin to forgo simple daily tasks like eating, washing and cleaning the house. The emotional effects of conspiracy theory addiction can also result in anxiety and stress disorders as well as difficulty sleeping.

As conspiracy theory addiction is a behavioural addiction, some experts believe that individuals may also be at risk of developing additional addictions. What’s more, dual diagnosis, which is where there is a mental health concern alongside the addiction, can also present itself.


Getting Help for Conspiracy Theory Addiction

As with many other addictions, admitting or even accepting that you have a problem can be the hardest part. What’s more, many people who suffer from this type of addiction actually believe that other people are involved and that they too could be covering up the ‘truth.’ This can make it very difficult to recommend that the individual needs help for their addiction. For this reason, often a leading rehabilitation centre is the only option for recovery.

As this type of addiction usually presents itself in psychological effects rather than physical dependencies, an alternative treatment plan is prescribed too. Experts believe that therapy to promote empowerment and self-control can be very beneficial. Equally, regular sessions with a counsellor can increase these positive feelings and help individuals to work towards a personal goal.

At Ocean Recovery, we provide treatment and therapy for a range of addictions. When it comes to conspiracy theory addiction, our team supports individuals to come up with an action plan that focuses on self-responsibility and control in order to discourage these negative beliefs. While addiction can cause long-term emotional and social harm, by focusing on personal fulfilment and goals, we strongly believe that individuals can feel empowered and in control and will be less likely to believe and search for conspiracy theories.

If you have any questions, whether about your own addiction or that of a loved one, our friendly team is always here to help. We can explain exactly what to expect from treatment, help you to find a rehab programme that best suits you and will be with you every step of the way. Call us today at 01253 847 553 to find out more.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: July 7, 2022

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.