We all know the dangers of addictions like drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, but the fact is there are so many other addictions out there that go completely unnoticed; things that are so common that we don’t even give them a second thought. Some of these are easy to believe, but others will likely blow your mind.
The human brain is wired for addiction from birth, and the body is amazingly adept at adapting itself to new stimuli – so adept, in fact, that it often becomes reliant when normal things are done a little too often. So if you think you’re living an addiction free life, take a look at the 15 Addictions That You May Have Without Even Knowing It before you decide
This one isn’t so bad, right? A lot of people like books, and even the advance of technology (Kindle and the like) hasn’t completely erased that wonderful feel of a real book in your hand. Some people may even judge your worth as a human being based on how many books you have in your collection.
But an addiction to books, or bibliomania, can reach so deep for some that they will literally fill every spare inch of room in their home and property with their collection. Serious health and social problems can develop from this book-hoarding behavior.
More than that, this obsessive-compulsive disorder can literally have sufferers stealing millions of dollars in books from supermarkets, bookstores, and libraries – a form of book addiction called bibliokleptomania. And book addictions can be even stranger, including bibliophagy (eating books), bibliophilia (actual emotional love for books), and bibliotaphy (the compulsive need to bury books).
Who doesn’t love cuddling up with a friendly kitten or a big friendly dog? Be it rodent, fish, bird, or beast, people have a special kinship with animals that goes very deep, and the therapeutic effects of just owning a pet has been proven to extend your life.
But there’s a big difference between having a couple of family pets and hoarding animals. There comes a point when the sheer number of animals a hoarder keeps can make it impossible to provide even the basic limits of nutrition and sanitation for them – and they are simply unable to believe that they are doing any harm to their furry friends by keeping them.
Cats are the most common animal for people to become addicted to, collecting hundreds or even thousands of the little critters, and it often doesn’t matter if it’s just a tiny one-room home. This not only creates a dangerous environment for the cats and owner to live in, but creates health risks for neighboring homes as well.
Most of us wouldn’t mind admitting that we like to sleep. A nice eight hours a night, plus a cat-nap the next afternoon, equals a great day with full energy reserves and high productivity. But most people can’t fathom sleeping twelve, fourteen, or even sixteen hour a day – but there are some people who do.
Medical conditions, such as depression, can lead to a secondary condition called hypersomnia, which can also occur by itself. But some people become highly dependent on sleep without hypersomnia to blame. Otherwise happy and healthy people might just have a psychological need to oversleep.
As hard as it is to believe, sleeping-your-life-away can be can taken literally, as sleep addiction can lead to very real health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and even an increased risk of death. Not to mention that sleeping the majority of the day can have major impact on a person’s social-emotional well-being.
Roller coasters are fun. Bungee jumping is fun. Even skydiving is fun. In fact, anything that gets you out of your comfort zone and gives you a sense of adventure is fun, and such activities can be very good for your emotional state. A little thrill every now can be a good thing, but there are some thrill-seekers out there that quite literally can’t get enough.
Let’s get chemical for a minute. Super-high-stress situations cause the human body to release a chemical known as epinephrine, or adrenaline for us laymen. That chemical hormone gives an immediate and intoxicating burst of strength and energy, and can trigger a euphoric state of mentality.
If you think that sounds a little bit like a drug, you’re exactly right. Adrenaline junkies, like many drug addicts, are insatiable and always out to one-up their last dangerous activity. This becomes a cycle of increasingly dangerous stunts that all too often come to a very unfortunate, and very abrupt, ending.
The internet has transformed the world, making information more available than ever before and bridging gaps between world cultures in a way that has never been seen. The internet has made life easier, more convenient, and helped to expand our collective knowledge. And if you love cats, the internet is the perfect place for you.
Many of us spend a good portion of the day on the internet – whether it’s on our computers, tablets, or phones – for both work and pleasure. But you may have a problem if you share a tweet every three minutes or spend twelve hours a day watching funny babies on YouTube. At that point, undeniably, you are an internet addict.
It can’t be said that an internet addicts suffer from social problems, that’s almost all that the internet is these days with the power of social media. However, emotional problems can develop from an over-use of the internet because the human brain is wired for more one-on-one social interactions.
Potato chips, chocolate, fries, ice cream, and cake. The salty, greasy, sugary foods that we all love have become a staple of American cuisine, and for very good reason: They’re delicious!
But you might not know that your body is constantly adapting to your diet, becoming physically altered to accommodate the things you eat. The more you eat, the more you crave, and the less your body craves the good things, like healthy greens and fruit. Before you know it, you’ve spiraled out of control into a six-thousand calorie diet and the thought of a salad turns your stomach. You’ve developed an addiction.
But unlike many things on this list, a food addiction isn’t so easy to drop because you have to have food to survive. Dropping unhealthy foods is a long process of retraining your body to accept good, nourishing foods. This can be a battle because you may have been training for years to hate fruits and veggies.
Yep, it goes both ways. But an addiction to healthy foods is even trickier than an addiction to unhealthy foods. It’s pretty common knowledge that you should choose healthy foods over unhealthy foods, and that’s an indisputable fact. But as with all things, moderation is key.
The human body is a complex system that requires balance for homeostasis. An imbalance, even on the favorable side, can very easily cause medical problems. For instance, certain vegetables contain enzymes and minerals that are undoubtedly good for the body, but can build up if there is an excess to cause things like kidney and bladder stones.
Unknown to many, you can actually overdose on vitamins, which can cause anything from mild stomach cramps and fatigue to nerve damage and even hair loss. Best advice, ignore the latest health-food crazes and talk to an actual doctor or dietician to create a diet that’s healthy in moderation.
Good music can change your whole outlook on life. A hard rock selection can motivate your workout, a sad song can help console you when you’re sad, and a tranquil piano can help you to relax after a hard day and relieve stress. Some people treat their music like a close friend, and that’s a title that music just might deserve.
The right music at the right time might be able to actually sympathize with you, and according to some in the scientific community, might also trigger many of the same neuro-chemical responses as a heart-felt conversation with an actual person. Music is really an incredible thing, and we’ve known that for millennia.
One of those neuro-chemical responses mentioned above is the release of dopamine – a chemical responsible for creating happy feelings in the brain, and also an important player in addiction. If something feels good, dopamine is the culprit that makes you want to repeat that behavior, AKA, addiction.
Luckily, the major downfall of a music addiction is mostly the fact that you might annoy your family, friends, or boss since you always have headphones in your ears.
Many people can get lost in a video game for hours, others can get lost in them for weeks. Video game addiction stems from a myriad of compulsive disorders that include the need to solve puzzles, the need to see what’s going to happen next, and the need to entirely complete something that you’ve started.
This has been a problem for decades, but now that video games have become an investment of hundreds of hours of game play instead of just a dozen or so. This addiction has become something that can very badly affect someone’s life. There are stories out there of people actually having gone missing for days at a time, only to be found at a friend’s house playing the latest game release.
There may also be emotional factors involved. With role-playing games becoming a cornerstone of the entire market, some people find immense relief from the stress of their own life by stepping into a fantasy world where they can fight dragons, shoot down space ships, or just tend to a farm for hours-on-end.
Okay, no matter what you have to say about health foods, fitness is important and exercise is good, right? Sort of. Too much exercise can put stress on your muscles, nerves, lungs, heart, and brain. People who exercise compulsively and without end aren’t fitness gurus, they’re addicts.
Yes, exercise is an important element in any lifestyle, and a good routine can help you live a longer, happier, fuller life. Exercise can make your body and heart strong, but exercise addicts tend to take it to an unhealthy extreme that can cause muscular-skeletal disorders from too much muscle weight, and overtaxed heart from excessive cardio, and possibly even weaken the blood vessels in the brain from excessive straining.
So get out, get active, and then for God’s sake, take a good long break. In fact, your muscles actually need more downtime to grow than gym time. If you can’t help yourself, you may need to seek a professional.
Now it’s just getting crazy. Water can’t be bad for you, its water! Water is a building block of life, and you’ve seen a million commercials and public service announcements telling you to drink more water and stay hydrated. But just like with exercise and vegetables water can be a very dangerous addiction without proper moderation.
Excessive water consumption can lead to very serious health problems, and it can happen very quickly. Water can actually lead to a form of intoxication called hyponatremia or water poisoning. Water helps to absorb excess sodium and carry it out of the body; too much water equals too little sodium. Water intoxication occurs because of an electrolyte imbalance in the brain from sodium deficiency – and it’s potentially fatal.
In fact, “water cure” is a form of intensive torture in which victims are forced to drink immense amounts of water until the stomach is at the brink of exploding. In short, water is good, but too much water is very, very bad.
Hoarding books and pets are one thing, but there are some compulsive hoarders out there that literally cannot bring themselves to throw out garbage. And that isn’t saying that these people are pack-rats, accumulating junk over years in their basement, that’s saying that there are people who are actually walking through their home ankle-deep in trash.
Crumpled paper, rotten food, empty cans, broken bottles, and everything you could imagine that usually gets thrown in the trash become fixtures in the home. In garbage bags or out, some people just can’t curb their refuse, which leads to an obvious environmental health risk for themselves and the entire neighborhood.
Risks of garbage addiction include fire hazards, noxious fumes, infection, injury, and the attracting of pests like flies, mice, and in some cases, even raccoons. Moreover, a garbage addict is usually completely isolated, living by themselves in their ruined homes, without social or emotional interactions. This unbelievable addiction can be absolutely heartbreaking.
Some people like it, some people hate it. Some people can’t get through the day without it. And then there are people who can’t get through the day without a cup of coffee in morning, a cup at lunch, a cup in the afternoon, a cup at supper… and so on. These people are coffee addicts who take the drink from the morning pick-me-up it’s intended to be to a dangerous level.
Caffeine is almost synonymous with our society’s view of productivity. But the simple fact is caffeine is a drug. Your body absorbs it and becomes dependent on it, and your psychological stance that you can’t get through the day without it can become all-consuming. Too much coffee can lead to the jitters, trouble sleeping, tachycardia, and a host of other health problems.
Coffee even comes with its own withdraw symptoms. A complete lack of energy, nausea, and other gastrointestinal distress are common for those who have recently kicked the habit. But in moderation, studies have shown that coffee can actually be good for your heart and general well-being.
Nymphomania, or an addiction to sex, is an often joked-about condition that can be a real debilitation for those who suffer from it. And nymphomania doesn’t have to be limited to just the normal two-person activity, it can extend to pornography addiction, group activity, and any number of addictions to sexual perversions.
Sex addiction may sound like an awfully good time for some, but just like any other addiction, sex can become a great burden to those who actually suffer the condition, and there is an extensive list of risks attached. These include an increased risk of STDs, unwanted pregnancies, trauma (both physical and emotional), and the inability to engage in an emotionally intimate relationship.
For reference, a healthy sex life for most people is once or twice a week. An active sex life is three times a week, and maybe four. Five times a week or more may be acceptable every now and then under special conditions, but when it becomes the norm, it’s become an addiction. Of course this all varies from person to person so a good rule of thumb is if you think you have a problem, you most likely have a problem.
Soft drinks should be considered in much the same way that people regard alcohol – a nice treat every now and then, but something to be heavily moderated. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Most people consider one or two soda’s a day okay, but even that is too many – pop is very unhealthy… and very addictive.
Not only does pop have caffeine, which we’ve already established is an addictive element, but it contains copious amounts of sugar. Sugar itself is addictive, and many people don’t realize just how much is in a can of soda. A few years of just a few cans every day can lead to tooth decay, gastrointestinal problems, and even neuropathy. Not to mention that soda is a major cause of obesity and diabetes – both ongoing problems in the world of today.
And that’s just a couple of sodas a day. Some addicts literally drink gallons of the sickeningly sweet beverage every day. As with anything (even water), too much of anything is nothing less than poison. You might switch to diet soda, and that’s a healthier choice for a can of pop as a treat every few days, but drinking too much diet soda can be just as bad for you as regular. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.