The 46-year-old actor admitted seeing his alter ego Jim Hopper become a father figure to Millie Bobby Brown's Eleven changed his perspective and made him feel he needed a more full personal life.
David - who is now married to Lily Allen and is stepfather to her and Sam Cooper's daughters Ethel, nine, and eight-year-old Marnie - said, "TV definitely helped me in my life."
"I'm very much a New York sort of city rat. I liked my freedom, my independence," he told "That Scene with Dan Patrick" podcast. "And then it was really this part that did change a lot of that perspective."
"The show sort of opened my heart in a lot of different ways, and one of the ways that it did was it started to make me realise how thin my existence was without a family."
And David explained how seeing his character "maturing into a father" was "something clearly my subconscious was crying out to do."
"I think that's partially why things are so successful because there's some unique alchemy between the performer and the role," he added. "I feel like there was something in Hopper that had a deep need for family, and there was something in me that had it too but that I wasn't even aware of."
"As I began to explore this role, the role allowed me to do that in my real life."