Reality TV is to blame for a rise in psychiatric problems where the sufferers become convinced their own lives are being played out in front of the cameras, experts say.
The phenomenon has been dubbed Truman syndrome, after hit movie The Truman Show, in which Jim Carrey plays the unwitting star of a lifelong reality show. Psychiatrist Ian Gold said reality TV shows such as I'm A Celebrity..., with their ability to turn strangers into intimates, may add critically to the psychological pressure on people who already have underlying problems.
Dr Gold, a philosophy and psychology professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, stressed that he was not saying reality shows made healthy people delusion, but added: 'At the very least, it seems possible to me that people who would become ill are becoming ill quicker or in a different way.'
Researchers in London described a Truman syndrome patient in the British Journal of Psychiatry in August. The 26-year-old postman 'had a sense the world was slightly unreal, as if he was the eponymous hero' in The Truman Show, the researchers wrote.