Defining an addiction is tricky – without an expert’s help, you rarely can say whether a person is addicted or just experimenting with something. However, people often abuse things without considering that they may have an addiction – just because it has nothing to do with alcohol or drugs.
When someone mentions addiction, we usually imagine empty whiskey bottles or bags full of illicit drugs. But addiction isn’t just confined to specific substances. A person can get hooked on the Internet, sex and even fast food just as well as cocaine or vodka.
In this article, you’ll find a list of unusual things a person can get addicted to. They are not proven to be “true” addictions, but one can become dependent on them quite easily.
Formally, sexual addiction is not a clinical diagnosis, but compulsive sexual behaviour was added to the International Classification of Diseases, revision 11. The symptoms include loss of control, disregard for risks and consequences, and neglect of personal interests and responsibilities.
An obsessive sexual craving may or may not be an addiction. If you believe you are experiencing it yourself, the best solution would be to contact a professional. If the condition is confirmed, you can try a 12-step program – for example, Sex Addicts Anonymous.
You can also call your local helpline or contact a rehab centre in your area. For example, go to arcproject.org.uk to learn more about dealing with addiction in the UK.
Shopping may not be a “true” addiction, but it can shift into a compulsive disorder when it gets out of control. However, if you spend much time (and money) shopping, don’t worry – you’re probably not a shopping addict. Many people love this activity, and it’s completely normal to visit stores once in a while.
However, it may be a concern if the person purchases items to avoid feeling sad or angry. While that can be helpful, it also may be a symptom of a shopping addiction if combined with several other signs:
- Spending more than you can afford.
- Losing control over shopping behaviour.
- Feeling guilty after shopping.
- Harming relationships due to spending or shopping too much.
Internet & Video Games
You may have thought that your mum invented it, but no – game addiction exists. The chemistry behind it is pretty simple: when you play games, your brain is overloaded with dopamine, and you feel happy. However, with time, your dopamine levels may decrease significantly, making you crave more and more.
This compulsive behaviour is not limited to computer games. As technology is taking over the world today, many people spend a lot of time online. Technology addiction is not formally classified, but it can take various forms, such as the internet, social media, or sexual content addiction. Check this article to find out more about it.
Obsession with plastic surgery is more of a psychological issue than a “true” addiction. Most often, it’s caused by body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). In simple terms, people with this condition don’t like their bodies, which makes them preoccupied with a slight, even imagined defect. Focusing on this defect becomes a compulsive behaviour, which seriously disrupts a person’s life and makes them visit a plastic surgeon over and over again.
Believe it or not, but binge eating disorder is a real problem, and it affects many people. People eat to ease their emotions and deal with stress, and they usually stop only after getting uncomfortably full. Other symptoms also include:
- Planning binges in advance.
- Eating “special” binge foods.
- Eating when not hungry.
- Feeling guilty or ashamed afterwards.
The cause of binge eating is unknown, but it may be linked to depression and some other mental health conditions, like anxiety or PTSD.
“Adrenalin junkie” is a term describing people who seek thrills all the time. While some people enjoy an occasional adventure – like trying extreme sports – the others push the limits and try dangerous things. For them, adrenaline works the same way as the drugs work for the addicts, hence the term “adrenaline junkie”.
There is no such thing as adrenaline addiction, but many thrill-seekers can consciously put themselves in life-threatening situations. If that is your case, it might be time to reevaluate things. Therapy may be beneficial.
A Final Note
Addiction is a scary thing, and very often, it can ruin a person’s life. Drugs, alcohol, and gambling can have an extremely negative impact on your health and personality. However, these are not the only things that someone can get hooked on. There are several other things and activities that can make the person lose control.
Sex, shopping, video games, and even plastic surgery are just some of the things a person can get addicted to. While they may seem unthreatening, they can put your health (both mental and physical) at risk and harm your personal life. If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, don’t hesitate to contact a specialist and seek help.