strange addictions

Strange Addictions: Did You Know These Could Be Addictive?

Over 20 million Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol. We’re all familiar with the challenges of those particular addictions. 

And yet, there are dozens of other types of addiction which largely go unnoticed. You may say that you’re a “chocoholic” as a joke, but these are strange but serious addictions. 

Read on as we reveal a bunch of strange addictions. Let’s go!

1. Shopping Addiction

You may wonder how you can be addicted to something that everyone does. We all enjoy shopping and buying new things. That doesn’t make anyone addicted, right?

And yet, roughly 7 percent of Americans are addicted to shopping. This is also known as “compulsive buying.”

Addicted shoppers often spend all of their free time shopping. This can cause damage to their relationships, career, and health. 

They can end up spending a fortune on items which they never use. For many sufferers, it’s all down to the buzz of making a purchase. This is the sense of euphoria which is similar to the experience of drug takers. But shopping addiction can also lead to many of the negative symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse.

There is often a serious underlying mental illness, such as depression or anxiety, which people hide through shopping. 

2. Exercise Addiction

Only 23 percent of Americans get enough exercise. So it’s strange to hear that some people are doing too much.

Have you experienced the natural high when you go for a run?

That’s what it’s all about for these people. Exercise can become a priority for many people who are addicted. 

Exercise addiction can also lead to an obsession with calorie intake. This is often connected with the development of eating disorders, such as anorexia. 

According to experts, many high-performance runners display signs of addiction to exercise. 

3. Tanning Addiction

While 72 percent of Americans say that people look better with a tan, some people go beyond enjoying the sunshine on the beach.

Approximately half of the beach lovers could be considered “tanning addicts.” Moreover, up to 70 percent of indoor tanners could be described as addicted as well. 

Sun worshipping is especially dangerous because of the damage to the skin. It can even cause skin cancer. People who are regularly exposed to the ultra-violet rays can experience nausea and other withdrawal symptoms if they stop.

4. Porn Addiction

Roughly one-third of men between the ages of 18 to 30 are addicted to pornography. This may be unsurprising since over 90 percent of boys under the age of 18 have been exposed to pornography.

The obsession over watching porn and masturbating can become a serious mental and physical health problem. In particular, by raising the expectations of the person, watching porn can damage relationships beyond repair. 

5. Ice Chewing Addiction

Do you ever chew the ice in your drink when you’re done?

You may think this is perfectly normal. However, ice chewing compulsively is considered an addicted behavior. It’s also a sign that you’ve got iron deficiency anemia. 

Ice chewing addiction is called pagophagia. The practice of eating ice is in the group of addictions called pica, the eating of non-foods. 

According to estimates, around 2 percent of American males have ice chewing addiction. However, it is far more common among young women. Approximately 16 percent of females between 16 and 19 display the symptoms of pagophagia. 

6. Dirt-Eating Addiction

Another example of the condition pica is the compulsive eating of dirt or soil. This is called geophagia. Many experts say that such behaviors are probably signs of nutritional deficiencies, such as iron or zinc. 

However, people with the conditions of autism or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have also been known to develop geophagia. 

Moreover, it’s also particularly prominent among pregnant women. And in some cultures, it’s not considered taboo or strange at all. 

7. Hair Pulling Addiction

The compulsive pulling of your own hair is called trichotillomania. 

Around 2 million Americans suffer from the condition. Sufferers experience the urge to pull out their hair constantly. 

However, it is not only restricted to the hair on their heads. Many continue to pull the hair on their eyebrows, legs, and even pubic hair. Obviously, this results in the emergence of bald patches.

Many people who suffer from trichotillomania have poor impulse control, which means that they cannot foresee the negative consequences of their actions.

8. Internet Addiction

We all spend a lot of time on the internet. And yet, some people display the signs of addiction to the internet. 

According to a study, up to 420 million people worldwide are addicted to the internet. When you consider that roughly 50 percent of the world’s population don’t have access to the internet at all – that’s a lot!

Many addicts spend up to 16 hours a day on the internet. This can compromise a lot of other things in their lives, such as career or relationships.

9. Tattoo Addiction

Have you ever noticed a guy with tattoos all over him?

Around 4 in 10 Americans have at least one tattoo. And a growing number of people are acquiring more and more tattoos. For some, this reaches the point of becoming an addiction.

Tattoos are often simply a way for people to express themselves. But for some people, it reaches the point of becoming body mutilation after a while. 

Recognize Any of These Strange Addictions?

Now you know some of the weird addictions which destroy people’s lives or cause serious health conditions.

If you know someone who is displaying the signs of addiction to shopping or dirt-eating, it’s important to try to help them. 

Do you think you’re developing an addiction to drugs, alcohol or one of the many strange addictions? Read our blog to learn the stages of addiction so that you don’t fall down the slippery slope.

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About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.