Addiction is a strong word that a parent has difficulty accepting when it comes to their teens or young adult children.
Addictions are powerful chemical dependencies that don’t always make sense to outsiders or even psychologists, for that matter. What we do know is that if the brain likes what it tastes, feels or sees, anything and everything can become addictive.
Here are 25 addictions you didn’t know existed:
- Work Addiction: People joke about it, but work addictions really do exist. People who are addicted to work obsess over work and spend more than the necessary amount of time at work because it gives them a sense of fulfillment. Workaholics often experience broken relationships, emotional disconnection and other health-related problems.
- Eating Cigarette Ashes: Addiction to eating cigarette ashes is a form of pica disorder, in which a person craves foods with no nutritional value. People who eat cigarette ashes may have nutritional deficiencies or be anemic. Excessive consumption of cigarette ashes could be toxic and cause gastrointestinal issues.
- Tanning: Tanning addicts aren’t just soaking up the sun during summer — it’s a year-round activity. In order to release the pleasure-inducing (and addictive) endorphins in the brain, sun worshipers go to tanning salons and sunbathe outdoors to get their fix. Tanning addicts are in danger of developing serious skin cancers and increased signs of aging.
- Eating Chalk: Chalk eating is a common form of pica disorder that affect both children and adults. Even though it is labeled as non-hazardous, excessive chalk eating can be harmful to your health. Chalk may be contaminated during the manufacturing process and could contain metal shavings, rodent droppings and traces of chemicals that may be dangerous to ingest.
- Eating Glass: Glass eating, also called hyalophagia, is a pathological and pica disorder that is very dangerous. People who are addicted to eating glass may sustain internal injuries and have serious gastrointestinal issues. Glass eating has been a performance technique for years, and many addicts enjoy the attention that comes with eating glass.
- Hair Pulling: Hair pulling, also called trichotillomania, is an overwhelming addiction to pulling, twisting and plucking hair from the scalp or face. People who are addicted to pulling their hair typically have bald spots and may disguise their condition by wearing wigs or hats. The cause of hair pulling is not completely clear, but researchers believe genetic and environmental factors contribute to this painful addiction.
- Eating Dirt: Eating dirt, also referred to as geophagy, may be common among some cultures and species, but it’s also considered a form of pica disorder. Even if reports say that eating some dirt can be good for you, excessive consumption can be very unhealthy. Dirt eaters have a high risk for parasitic infections and poisoning if the soil is contaminated with industrial and human pollutants.
- Eating Toilet Paper: Toilet paper is another common non-food item consumed by people with pica disorder. Even though toilet paper may seem harmless because we use it on our skin every day, it can contain trace contaminants and chemicals from the manufacturing process. Not only is it unsafe to ingest these chemicals, but toilet paper is not easily digested by the body.
- Eating Soap: Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who not only enjoy having a bar of soap in their mouths, but they like to eat it too. Eating soap is a form of pica disorder that can have some serious health consequences. The toxic chemicals in soap can cause digestive problems, metabolic changes and affect the blood stream.
- Eating Laundry Detergent: Eating laundry detergent is a form of pica disorder, in which the consumer retains no nutritional value from the product. This addiction poses a serious danger to one’s health when consumed in excess. Laundry detergent is full of toxic ingredients, such as phosphates, chlorine bleach, corrosive acids and fillers that can make you sick to your stomach and cause several other health complications.
- Online Shopping: Online shopping addicts will spend a great deal of time and money shopping online for things they don’t need and will never use. This compulsive need to buy is similar to other kinds of shopping addictions, but online shoppers can do it anywhere, anytime. Online shopping addicts often struggle with finances, relationships and work productivity.
- Thumb Sucking: Thumb sucking is an addiction shared by children and adults alike. There are many reasons why people suck their thumbs during adulthood, such as anxiety and security. Aside from public humiliation and embarrassment, adults who are addicted to sucking their thumb might experience dental problems, social isolation and shame.
- Online Gambling: Online gambling addiction is a serious problem that can cause you and your loved ones a great deal of pain. Online gambling addicts spend countless hours and inconceivable amounts of money gambling every day. They often experience problems in their relationships, finances and work performance.
- Bodybuilding: Bodybuilding is something that can start out as normal and healthy, but can become very addictive in no time. Extreme bodybuilding can lead to many unhealthy practices, such as steroid usage. The obsession with being as muscular and strong as possible puts serious strain on one’s body and heart and can lead to disordered eating, as well.
- Chat Room Addiction: Visiting online chat rooms may seem like an innocent activity, but it has proven to be quite addictive for some. Chat room addicts spend a great deal of time on the computer visiting chat rooms and talking to friends or complete strangers. Some symptoms of a chat room addict include social isolation, irritability and anxiety when not on the computer, depression and problems at work.
- Romantic Rejection: Believe it or not, romantic rejection is something that people can become addicted to. People who constantly experience romantic rejection may actually become addicted to the pain and distress they feel afterward. This is an unhealthy addiction that could lead to further emotional and mental health problems.
- Tattoos: For many people, tattoos are like potato chips — you can never have just one. However, there comes a point where getting tattoos can become a serious addiction. Tattoo addicts may be obsessed with the pain of the needle and the adrenaline response, as well as the attention they get from having tons of tattoos. The more tattoos a person gets the greater their chances are for having allergic reactions, skin infections and contracting blood-borne diseases.
- Facebook: Even though it isn’t an actual medical diagnosis, Facebook addiction is a real concern. Facebook addicts are so enamored with social networking that they’ve dissociated themselves with the real world. Facebook addicts are always signed on and constantly updating their statuses or looking at others’ profiles. They may have trouble being productive at work and keeping their relationships intact.
- Text Messaging: Text messaging may be the next dangerous addiction affecting today’s youth and adults. Text messaging addicts are obsessed with sending message after message and may prefer shorthand messages over direct communication, which can drastically impair social skills. An addict’s impulsivity to send a message also increases their chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
- Piercings: Piercings, much like tattoos, can be very addictive. Whether it’s the pain of piercing the skin or the attention it draws, people can become addicted to piercings in an unhealthy way. There are some serious risks involved with excessive piercing, such as bacterial infections, allergic reactions, blood-borne diseases and damage to nerves.
- Eating Sugar: Sugar addiction is not just an excuse to eat tons of candy – it’s a real problem. Sugar addicts consume foods and drinks that contain large quantities of sugar, specifically white refined sugar. This unhealthy diet can lead to many health problems, including diabetes, pancreatic problems, bowel diseases, obesity and dental issues.
- Computer Addiction: In today’s day and age, computer addiction is a real and concerning problem. Computer addicts spend hours upon hours on the computer doing a number of activities that aren’t work-related. The need to be on the computer at all times can cause serious problems in one’s relationships, work performance and overall well-being.
- Eating Paint Chips: Eating paint chips is a common form of pica disorder that is often seen during childhood. Ingesting paint chips is very dangerous to one’s health and can lead to lead poisoning. Lead poising in children can lead to irreversible brain damage and slow physical and mental development. In adults, lead poisoning can cause nerve damage, poor muscle coordination and reproductive problems.
- Eating Household Cleansers: Eating household cleansers is a form of pica disorder that is more common than you may think. This bizarre eating habit gives addicts a sense of happiness and fulfillment, but also comes with a slew of health problems. Household cleansers contain several toxic chemicals that are dangerous to ingest and can cause gastrointestinal issues and poisoning in large amounts.
- Life-Sized Love Dolls: It may sound ludicrous, but there is a large group of individuals who are addicted to life-sized love dolls. These dolls don’t just provide sexual partnership; they also offer companionship and acceptance to these lonely individuals. People who are addicted to love dolls are often socially isolated and disconnected with the real world.
Special contributor: Celina Jacobson