“Avatar 2” has been in German cinemas since mid-December. But instead of joy, he supposedly triggers depressive moods in some viewers. International media speak of a “post-avatar depression syndrome”. What’s behind it.
It was the most successful film in Germany in 2022: “Avatar 2” drew over a million Germans to the cinema on New Year’s Eve, reports “Kino.de”. And also in the new year, numerous people continue to flock to the box office.
But since the beginning of the theatrical release on December 5 in London, reports have been mounting about an effect that set in for some people after the first Avatar film was released: They feel depressed. In 2010, media gave this phenomenon the term PADS (short for: Post Avatar Depression Syndrome).
The Guardian reports on this. “‘PADS’ is not a medically recognized condition, but the feelings people experience are very real,” the report said. According to this, after the release of the first Avatar film in 2009, the number of viewers who felt dissatisfied with their lives increased.
“Ever since I saw Avatar, I’ve been depressed. When I saw the wonderful world of Pandora and all the Na’vi, I wanted to be one of them,” the Guardian quotes a film forum user as saying. The thread contained more than 1,000 posts from people around the world who shared the feelings. It was titled “Ways to Cope with the Depression of Dreaming Pandora Isn’t Tangible”.
“Many people have experienced this in the community,” the “Variety” portal quotes another user. “It really made me rethink a few things,” he says there. “I never thought that something like this could affect me so deeply.” And another reports that he experienced such an effect when he watched the film for the second time. He allegedly even had to sit out a semester during school because of his mood.
With the release of the second film, the syndrome is an issue again. “Now they (the fans, editor’s note) are arming themselves for ‘The Way of Water’,” writes “Variety” And rightly so.
“I felt a little depressed,” writes a user in the “Tree of Souls” forum. “I have to admit I’m feeling all that Avatar depression again and I don’t know why,” another. And: “I kinda knew the new movie would bring back the Avatar blues.”
“It seems Avatar has a unique way of evoking similar feelings in different people,” the Guardian continues. Mourning, for example, because one felt separated from nature, worries about the future of our planet could also play a role, as could dissatisfaction with one’s own, modern life. The film “used the best of our technology to create this virtual world, and real life will never be as utopian as it appears on screen. It makes real life seem more imperfect,” explained psychiatrist Stephan Quentzel. CNN”.
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A Canadian non-profit organization even developed a three-step plan to manage the syndrome. She recommends:
However, the syndrome is not recognized as an actual depression.
However, the measures mentioned only help to a limited extent in the case of serious depression. If you find yourself in an acute crisis, regardless of the circumstances, contact your doctor or psychotherapist, the nearest psychiatric clinic or the emergency doctor on 112.
If you notice in yourself or in your environment that someone could be suffering from depression or another psychological emergency, you can also contact various counseling centers: