After a long day at work, you decide to start watching that new show everyone has been raving about by sitting down in front of the TV. After watching half of a season by midnight, you find yourself inclined to stay up and watch one more episode, even though you’ll pay for it the following morning at work. Even the best of us experience it. What a time to be alive, right?

It feels pleasant to watch a show episode after episode, but why is that? According to clinical psychologist Dr. Renee Carr, Psy.D., it’s because of the chemicals that are released in our brains. Your brain releases dopamine while you’re doing something enjoyable, like binge-watching television. This molecule provides the body with a pleasurable internal reward that encourages the continuation of that action. Signals from the brain are what the body uses to communicate. This is satisfying. You ought to continue doing this! Your brain continuously produces dopamine while you binge-watch your favorite show, giving your body a high akin to that of a drug. You develop dopamine cravings, which leads to a pseudo-addiction to the show. The process that takes place when we become addicted to something is the same one that happens when we binge-watch.

All experiences—whether they be ones we have in real life, on television, in a book, or in our imagination—are stored in our brains as true memories. Therefore, the same brain regions that are active during a live event are also active during TV viewing. We become caught in plots, develop relationships with characters, and genuinely care about how situations turn out.