Addiction is a problem that haunts many people throughout the world in a variety of different forms. Although it can be a tragic thing, there are so many illnesses to choose from that it’s become almost typical to have or know someone who has a problem like alcoholism, drug addiction, or OCD. Here are fifteen of the less popular — and most weird — addictions known to man.
Music: Yes, Really
A Swedish man actually receives disability for his addiction to heavy metal. He’s allowed to blast his head banging tunes while working as a dish washer, and even allowed to take time off from work to attend metal shows (as long as he makes it up later). There aren’t many resources available for those suffering from this ‘problem,’ so anyone looking for a Music Addicts Anonymous will be sorely disappointed.
Video Games: People Have Died From This
Video games have become more popular than ever before in the last decade. Consoles equipped with motion detection, online multiplayer from home, and an endless variety of games have all significantly boosted the presence of video games in our daily lives. The darker side to all of this is the increase of death and crime that can be directly attributed to video game addiction. Children under the age of ten have murdered one another over virtual property that can be obtained only in a game. Adults have murdered one another over game-related disputes as well. There have been documented suicides of those who ended it all after losing an ‘important’ item in their favorite game. Some have even died of exhaustion after forgetting to do anything other than sit in front of a computer for three days straight until heart failure crept up for a final Game Over. The meaning of video game addiction is somewhat misconstrued because angry parents and sensationalist reporters will be quick to blame video games for many violent crimes involving the youth, where games are usually not the issue.
Body Modifications: Piercings
Body modifications have gotten so popular in the last decade that they’ve crawled out of obscurity and into the mainstream.
The list of piercing options is long and absurd. Many of those into intense modifications prefer to stretch the earlobe piercing out to fit a disc, sometimes reaching diameters of two inches. The act of hole punching is certainly not for the squeamish; people will voluntarily punch out little buttons of flesh from their ears in an attempt to circumvent the stretching process and get right down to business.
Body Modifications: Tattoos
Body Modifications: Plastic Surgery
Because plastic surgery has become such an endemic, almost a normalcy, some people fail to recognize it as a form of body modification at all. The variety and quantity of plastic surgeries have both become nearly infinite; there always seems to be room for improvement: pulling the facial skin back and sewing it down to eliminate wrinkles, sucking fat out of the stomach with a plastic tube, injecting a paralyzing chemical under the skin to prevent sagging. There are implants for the butt, breasts, penis, arm muscles, calves and abs. Celebrities have undergone intense pain and rehabilitation in attempt to appear more desirable. Ironically enough, these types of surgeries are easily botched and can result in the opposite effect. Anatomically incorrect figures, irreversibly disfiguring diseases, and death are all plastic surgery failures that have struck victims who either just couldn’t get enough of the scalpel, or tried to get it at a discounted price from a shady source.
Gambling: Debt So Large, You’ll Die With It
Gambling is a long-standing and debatably traditional activity, considered a hobby and even career for some. Learning the tricks and strategies it takes to master and win a card game can be extremely profitable, and has made a number of gambling experts wealthy from honing their game skills. However, gambling is most often not profitable. In fact, gamblers usually are aware before they even drop the first token that their actions will most likely result in a loss of funds as opposed to a profit. This usually doesn’t stop the weekend gambler from traveling to Vegas or Atlantic City with friends, whose trips are planned more for fun and adventure than the act of gambling itself. But what about those who literally gamble away their life’s savings at the casino?
There are multiple support groups both on and offline for gambling addicts, as well as gambling rehabs, but the invention of internet gambling has made it even easier for addicts to perpetuate their disease. Gambling addiction can be just as dangerous as an addiction to drugs; Those suffering from this illness have stolen to support their addiction, committed suicide, and even been murdered over gambling-related debts.
Reading: Yes, People Still Do This
The amount of reading in American society has declined with the advancements, usability, and accessibility of the internet. But there are some who find themselves physically unable to stop reading constantly. Some attribute this odd behavior to the desire shared among most, but acted upon by few: an escape from reality. Reading can allow the reader to escape from reality into a fantasy world created by literature. Some doctors say that curing patients of an inner-ear disorder which may interrupt concentration and clarity of thought can lead to a reading addiction. Once the inner-ear — and concentration — problem has been solved, one doctor said that “People lose sleep because they stay up all night reading, and some even stop working.”
Shopping: “But The Ed Hardy Tees Were On Sale!”
Shopping addiction has put many of those suffering from it into bankruptcy. MTV’s television series True Life ran an episode which featured the lives of three young persons suffering from compulsive shopping, and put a somewhat humorous spin on the troubles of a young woman who shopped till she dropped (into thousands of dollars of debt). It put an almost amusing spin on the problem; a tan-crazy, materialistic caricature fretting about her money problems whilst spending away. The reality of shopping addiction is much more grim. Many of those suffering from this illness do not have a coach, family member or caring significant other to support them during hard times. Compulsive shopping is an impulsive disease which affects men and women almost equally, and can result in depression or suicide if untreated.
Dirt Eating (Geophagy) and Cravings For Non-Food Items (Pica)
Dirt eating, also called geophagy, refers to the act of consuming dirt or muddy substances to absorb the sulphur and phosphorous inside. Although this may be regarded as strange and unappetizing by most, it can be nutritionally beneficial and is an act practiced in many societies. It is sometimes associated with pica, or the uncontrollable desire to consume non-food items such as coins, buttons, cotton, etc. Those suffering from this eating disorder can easily die from eating sharp or metal items, and among documented cases of pica are individuals who have eaten hundreds of dangerous items, such as nails and small rocks.
Animal Hoarding: The Horror
Animal hoarding is a less-popular sect of the hoarding disease. It is an illness in which one collects items from collectibles, to discounted items, to downright trash, until their living space is filled to the brim with said material possessions. Some hoarders become so overwhelmed by stuff that sections of the living space become obstructed by debris, infested with insects, or dirty enough to create a health hazard. Animal hoarding usually comes after the initial inanimate object hoarding, and is disturbing for a number of reasons. Animal Hoarders usually live in deplorable conditions unfit for humans or animals; frightened or sick animals are often left untreated because their ability to hide amongst the rubbish prevents them from being reached. An animal hoarder is often incapable of caring for his or herself, let alone other living creatures — especially when there are so many of them. Additionally, the animals in this type of situation are often not spayed or neutered — meaning that all the hiding spaces in the house can be safely used to madly reproduce like the animals they are. As if the idea of unhealthy and sometimes ferrel animals inhabiting a debris-littered house isn’t gross enough, the worst part is yet to come: animals that are sick and untreated often die. A dying animal typically seeks out a hiding place in which it can pass on without being disturbed. A cat or dog that crawls beneath piles of newspapers, milk cartons and second-hand clothing will most likely never be found by a hoarder who stays in a corner of the house while nurturing his or her illness. Multiply that one animal by ten or fifteen, and the house has gone from gross and smelly to a putrid and hazardous open-air cemetery.
Chewing Ice: A Crippling Habit?
Chewing ice is an activity which is the subject of many high-school jokes — the chewer is often accused of being sexually frustrated and generally horny. It’s almost laughable to think of it as a legitimate addiction, but there are actually multiple support group forums for those who cannot control their chomping compulsions. Some have claimed that ice-chewing has become so prominent in their lives that it’s hindered their ability to maintain jobs or personal relationships. Although it sounds made-up and foolish, Chewing ice can be indicative of a larger problem, like a lack of iron in the bloodstream.
Compulsive Lying: Not as Funny as the Movie
Remember Liar Liar, with Jim Carrey? It turns out that compulsive lying is a real problem for many — usually as a symptom of some other mental illness — and isn’t very funny after all. There are three types of lying addicts: Pathological, Compulsive and Chronic, all of which imply the use of lying in order to obtain some desirable object that may be unrealistic without the aid of a made-up story. Individuals have even attempted to cover up crimes such as murder with lies in pursuit of financial gain.
Food: Bring Me 8 Cheeseburgers Because I’ve Grown Into the Couch
Food. Some people just can’t stop eating food. It sounds pretty ridiculous, but people have actually eaten themselves to death or were carried out of their houses on special stretchers because they were too fat and unhealthy to move on their own. A woman died being surgically removed from the recliner she physically grew attached to over years of slothfulness. It sounds like a horror movie, but it’s true. Even more disturbing is how frequently these types of tragedies are occurring in America. Food addiction is typically allocated to reasons similar to those also associated with general drug use: feelings of dissatisfaction and negativity toward life that is displaced with an unhealthy and crippling indulgence. Food addicts often binge eat and cannot control their urges. This is an epidemic which has ruined families and become an all too common problem in America.
Inhalants: Voluntary Retardation
Many people are familiar with inhalant addiction due to the episode of hit television series Intervention, which follows the daily trials and tribulations of a young woman addicted to inhaling cans of duster. Inhalant addiction is extremely rare, but the side effects are pretty terrifying. Inhalants are usually cans of duster made to clean electronics, or the fumes emitted from glue. The contents of these cans contain chemicals like nitrous oxide, which produces a freezing effect and can actually crystallize the lungs when inhaled, and butane, used for gas lighters. Unfortunately, the most common users of these misused household chemicals are 8th graders, who reportedly use inhalants more than any other recreational drug.
The effects of inhalants are intense and short-lived and include dizziness, feelings of ecstasy, hallucinations, uncontrollable laughter, and blacking out. Twenty-two percent of all individuals who die from inhalant use do so after the first use.
Sex: The Kind That Leads to Rape, Not Tiger Woods’ Unfortunate Lack of Privacy
Tiger Woods! Tiger Woods! That’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of sex addiction, but the illness that American society has made a mockery of in recent months is actually a very real and debilitating illness. Cheating on your wife because you’re rich, in a dysfunctional marriage, and can sleep with any beautiful woman on the planet may not quality you as a sex addict. The qualities found in a true sex addict are compulsive and/or constant masturbation, a downright obsession with sex, and multiple anonymous partners, which undoubtedly interfere with relationships that are both friendly and intimate. Sex addiction can even lead to molestation, sexual harassment or rape. Ironically, rape is one of the things that can cause the illness as well.