10 Surprising Addictions & Strange Things You May Be Addicted To
When you hear the word ‘addiction‘, your mind immediately starts to conjure images of people you’ve seen under the influence of hard drugs. Sometimes, I think of Rick Sanchez in the popular adult animated series Rick and Morty as the typical drunk character. However, these do not in any way register as surprising addictions. Funny thing is we’re all addicts in our own little (or big) way. There are certain things we do, places we go to, things we eat or drugs we take that provide some kind of stimuli or sensation to the brain that your body keeps craving more and more.
The brain attaches a great deal of importance to that ‘thing‘ classifying it as a quick feel-good object or substance, and you eventually get hooked. If that’s your case, then Houston, we have a problem. Addiction is a condition characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite its adverse consequences. It is the condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.
So with this post, I’m going to help you identify and tackle some of your surprising addictions. I want you to sit back, relax, and let’s play a game 😏. After reading this, I want you to type in the comments which one (or more) of the 10 surprising addictions you suffer from. Simple right? Let’s get on with it then.
Surprising Addiction 1: Surfing the Internet
You can never really think of a more pleasant way to pass time than spending it browsing the internet. For me, surfing the internet is surely one of the best ways to relax on the planet. It strangely has a way of meeting our every need and altering our mood; If you’re lonely there are dating sites that promise to find you the perfect partner; if you’re just bored to death, you could just check out funny videos on YouTube and Facebook, read some news, etc. All these are available and accessible on your mobile devices.
However, researchers in China revealed that internet addiction actually alters the brain in a similar way drug addiction and alcohol do. It is thought that sufferers of Internet addiction disorder (IAD) could face similar symptoms to those suffering from other addictions, including withdrawal symptoms. One study of users of internet-ready smartphones found that many are so addicted to their device they now hear “phantom vibrations” in their desperation to receive a message. Sometimes I even hear my cell phone ring in my head when in reality, my cellphone’s battery is flat.
Surprising Addiction 2: Falling in Love
I must admit, I fall under this category of addiction. We all know that one person who goes from relationship to relationship, never looking to spend more than five minutes alone. You may think that there is no greater feeling than having someone care and love you for no apparent reason (even if there is). Everyone wants to find love someday (I really do 😟), but if you find yourself jumping from one relationship to another with the inability to stay single for a month, then you’re addicted to falling in love. Yep, that heart-racing, euphoric feeling of falling in love… turns out you can get hooked on it.
According to psychologist Arthur Aron, who led a study investigating love addiction, falling in love activates the same system in the brain as drug addiction. This makes you crave that feeling again as soon as the first flush of love starts to fade. You find yourself crushing on almost every beautiful girl you see until eventually you get crushed. If that’s your story, I want to see you in the comments below.
Surprising Addiction 3: Sugar
Everyone seems to be writing songs about ‘Sugar‘ lately, describing ladies or lips to be “♪ Sweet like sugar, Love so sweet like sugar ♪ “, and many other weird lyrics. Well, I can’t really blame them. We all crave our favorite sweet treat from time to time, but did you know that you may actually be addicted to sugary snacks such as doughnuts and chocolate? Studies have suggested that when we eat sugary snacks, chemicals called Opioids are released in the brain leading to intense feelings of pleasure, and it is this feeling we often crave in the absence of sugar. In fact, according to research by a University of California team, sugar is both as damaging and as addictive as both alcohol and cigarettes. Some sugary foods are dangerous and could cause you some serious health problems.
Surprising Addiction 4: Tattoos and Piercings
While it may sound impossible for people to get addicted to having their bodies inked and pierced from head to toe, this happens all the time. Many people who start out with the intention of getting one tattoo or piercing will feel compelled to get more, which can feel like an addiction.
While it is debatable whether this is a true addiction, it is certainly a compulsion for many, which may be partly down to the rush of feel-good Endorphins which are released during the process of getting a tattoo to help you cope with the pain.
Surprising Addiction 5: Work
Almost everyone looks forward to weekends and TGIFs so that they can finally escape the stress and tension of their jam-packed schedules on weekdays. There are actually some people who suffer from work addiction and these weekends we ordinary people crave to stay away from the office or school may not be quite as treasured. While many of us jokingly use the term “workaholic”, research suggests this is a real condition that can jeopardize sufferers’ health and relationships – it is not simply a case of “working hard”.
According to a Spanish study, around 12% of workers in Spain suffer from work addiction, while in Japan “death by overwork” (karoshi) is thought to cause an estimated 1000 deaths per year. If you would rather spend 80% of your time working than spend time building relationships and hanging out with friends and family, you may be suffering from work addiction.
Surprising Addiction 6: Tanning
Research findings published in the journal, Addiction Biology, suggest that exposure to ultraviolet rays in the form of sunshine or tanning beds can cause a really surprising addiction. This causes changes in brain activity similar to drug addiction, keeping you hooked on tanning. According to Dr. Bryon Adinoff, the brain responds to UV light in areas that are associated with reward, causing some people to develop an addiction (Tanorexia) despite the potentially fatal health risks of tanning.
Surprising Addiction 7: Video Games
Ahh! Here is my favorite addiction. I’m a typical Football Manager addict. Yeah, I know it’s bad but I can’t go 30 minutes a day without thinking of my next match, my next tactic, why I lost a previous match, what players to buy next… You get the idea. Across the world, teenagers are holed up in their rooms in front of the Tv or computer screens feverishly playing video games, yet research suggests this may not be as harmless as it seems.
A 2006 BBC-reported survey revealed that 12% of online gamers reported some addictive behaviors, while many countries across the world have set up treatment centers to deal with this surprising addiction. Just like any addiction, compulsive gaming can jeopardize relationships and careers, and there have even been cases of excessive gamers dying from exhaustion.
Surprising Addiction 8: Shopping
Most of us love buying something new, whether it is the latest life-enhancing gadget or a gift for a loved one. For some, buying new things can become a destructive addiction. Shopping addiction, or Oniomania, is thought to be caused by a rush of endorphin and dopamine which causes the shopper to experience a temporary “high feeling” which they want to experience again and again. Many shopping addicts use shopping as a way to escape from negative feelings or situations in their life, however, the addiction can actually lead to further problems both financially and emotionally.
Surprising Addiction 9: Lip Balm
While not a chemical addiction compared to that of alcohol and cigarettes, applying lip balm can definitely be habit-forming. This is because while lip balm offers a temporary moisture boost for dry lips, it can interfere with the process of cellular turnover and the production of natural moisture, leading you to apply more and more lip balm to counter these drying effects. This is another thing I’m addicted to and I don’t even know if I want to stop. While it may not be life-threatening or recognized as an official illness, many websites and Facebook groups have been set up dedicated to this potentially expensive addiction.
Surprising Addiction 10: Music
We all have our favorite songs. The ones we listen to over and over again until we eventually start to hate it, but did you ever consider the fact that you could be addicted to your favorite music? According to a study by researchers at McGill University, this is another surprising addiction and many aren’t even aware of it. The study revealed that when you listen to music you experience a natural “high feeling” and our body releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter also released when people take drugs or eat pleasurable foods. According to the researchers, dopamine makes us want to repeat behaviors, which is the reason we can become addicted to our favorite music.
Okay, that was revealing. So the big question remains, WHAT ARE YOUR SURPRISING ADDICTIONS? I talked about a game at the start of the article so here are the rules. You get 2 points for each surprising addiction you have. How many points do you have altogether? All you have to do is mention your addiction in the comment box below and share what you’ve done to curb these addictions. We could learn a thing or two from your experience.
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