Conspiracy Theory Addiction: A Counseling Matter?




What is a conspiracy theory? It is described as an idea that a secret, but a person or a group is responsible for a situation or incident. Others often believe that these ideas are not common, sometimes ridiculous, but studies reveal that they might be more typical than we thought. Recent research found that approximately 50% of individuals in the United States consider at least one conspiracy theory to be true.

Conspiracy theories take numerous forms. However, most theories entail social and political events. Some circumstances include the idea that some artists are vampires and scandalous topics like the belief that a group of individuals is planning to destroy and take over the government. Frequently, one theory is complemented by another contradictory theory that can be hazardous if not challenged. Also, it can be recalled that other conspiracy theories have been verified to be facts. With the upsurge of these conspiracies and disclosure of more information, it has become more possible to damage one’s relationships and mental health by developing what is known as conspiracy theory addiction.

What Is Conspiracy Theory Addiction?

Conspiracy theory addiction is a form of behavioral addiction that could affect how a person perceives situations and has been associated with having more unpleasant traits. Instead of helping someone deal with their negative emotions, the belief in these conspiracy theories somehow produces a cycle of disempowerment and suspicion. As someone who faces various sources, it is vital to scrutinize the details and know the difference between real danger and fake theories.

Why People Believe

Conspiracy theories happen when individuals generate connections between one or more dissimilar situations, rising from the need for our brain to search for ‘patterns.’ New studies have also revealed that people with specific traits like low self-confidence have a higher likelihood of having a conspiracy theory addiction.

Experts have examined the various reasons why individuals trust in conspiracy theories, and many of the rationalizations include these factors:

  • The Need To Be In Control. Conspiracy theory addiction can result in the need to be in control. When the brain of a human being feels endangered, determining the cause of the danger can be a means to cope with anxious and fearful feelings. Several studies have found that individuals who think that they are disempowered are inclined to consider conspiracy theories to be true. They are also drawn to these theories to make their life sensible and for them to feel in control. People who have this form of addiction are not very eager to engage in activities that help improve their sense of control and independence.


  • The Need For Comprehension And Understanding. When an individual goes through grief or anguish over uncertainty or has experienced a major event, his mind begins to find answers to his questions. Those who have a decreased capacity to analyze and do not have much tolerance for doubt have a higher likelihood of believing in conspiracy theories. The reason for this is that these theories often offer answers for events that seem puzzling or terrifying, and believers can trust that they are deliberately being tricked. The need for more comprehension and understanding can result in addictive behaviors like neglecting obligations and relationships and spending too much time on the web.


  • The Need To Feel Important Or Special. Conspiracy theory addiction also creates a defense mechanism, particularly in those individuals who feel alienated and disassociated from their community. They usually have doubts about the authority and have lowered trust and self-confidence. They often feel like heroes in a story, and their enemies are those who have conspired against them. Society has increasingly become modernized and complicated, and information is more conveniently disseminated, and some individuals feel far behind in striving to catch up. When someone feels deprived, he often looks for ways to increase his perceptions of himself.

Conspiracy theory addiction can produce longstanding effects on a person. Albeit trusting in conspiracies that are frequently driven by one’s need to take control, feel socially attached, and understand better, these are not the outcomes that are being acquired. Some studies have even revealed that taking conspiracies seriously can increase loneliness, seclusion, and confusion. The addiction cycle becomes damaging as negativity influences the belief in these conspiracies, and these, in turn, lead to negative emotions.

Managing Conspiracy Theory Addiction


A matter often confronted when attempting to invalidate a conspiracy theory is that individuals who trust in them are also inclined to doubt that others are involved in masking the truth. Some will often attempt to refute or condemn those who take these theories seriously, although this behavior often causes the person’s commitment to the conspiracy theory to deepen more. Specific factors that influence the belief can’t be easily or swiftly altered, but experts have found that supporting messages of empowerment and self-control can decrease conspiratorial thoughts.

Conspiracy theory addiction may lead to longstanding social and psychological damage to a person. Therapy and counseling that focus on personal objectives and mechanisms that help accomplish these objectives can significantly enhance one’s inspiration and self-control.