While watching a small amount of television can help you to relax and unwind, if you find that your life revolves around what’s on the screen, then you might be addicted to TV. Nielsen Media Research found that the average American watches four hours of television each day - by the time they reach 65 years old, that would mean they would have spent an astonishing nine years watching television. An addiction to television can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which can drastically increase your risk of developing health conditions such as cardiovascular and heart disease.
Listening to music
We all have a favourite song that’s guaranteed to put a smile on our face, no matter how bad our day has been, and according to researchers at McGill University, this feeling can actually be quite addictive. Their study suggests that when we listen to music we like, we experience a natural ‘high’ and as a result, our bodies react in the same way as when we eat pleasurable food - by releasing the neurotransmitter, dopamine. It is this chemical that makes us want to repeat behaviours to regain that feeling again, which is why we can become addicted to listening to our favourite songs.
Browsing the internet
If you’re someone who spends a lot of their time on the internet, have you ever considered that you might be addicted to browsing the web? Research carried out in China found that an addiction to the internet can have similar effects on the brain as drug and alcohol addictions. As a result of this, anyone suffering from an addiction to the internet could face symptoms common with other addictions, such as withdrawal signs. Another study by Leeds University found a link between internet addiction and depression.
If you have a friend who's always in a new relationship, never spending much time alone before they find romance again, you might be thinking they are just unlucky in love but it turns out they could actually be hooked on love. According to research, you can become addicted to that euphoric feeling you get when you fall for someone. Arthur Aron, a psychologist who fronted a study that investigated love addiction found that when you fall in love, it triggers the identical system within the brain that is triggered by an addiction to drugs, which makes you look for those early heart racing feelings again once they have started to fade from a relationship.
Piercings and tattoos
Although this isn’t the case for everyone, a lot of people who initially set out to get one piercing or tattoo often end up with multiple displays of body art, which can feel like an addiction. While there is little research to suggest why people often end up with multiple tattoos and piercings, it’s thought that the adrenaline, release of endorphins and artistic feelings associated with getting inked are all factors which could contribute to an addiction of body art.
You’ve probably joked about being addicted to chocolate and other sweet treats in the past, but research has found that you can, in fact, become addicted to sugary snacks. Studies have proposed that the sugary foods we eat can release chemicals known as ‘opiods’ into the brain which lead to strong feelings of satisfaction. It’s these feelings we crave without sugar. A study by Australia’s Queensland University compared the effects of cocaine on the body to those of sugar and likened the symptoms that came as a result of stopping sugar to going ‘cold turkey.’
This might be a difficult addiction for many people to contemplate, but research has suggested that being a ‘workaholic’ is an actual condition and it can negatively impact your relationships and your health. A study in Spain found that about 12 per cent of people who work in the country endure the addiction and in Japan, ‘karoshi’ (death by overwork) causes around 1000 deaths a year. Think carefully before you agree to that overtime your boss has offered you…
While obtaining a healthy glow on holiday is something many people aspire to, if your quest for a tan has become a serious craving then you could be suffering from ‘Tanorexia.’ A study published in Addiction Biology journal suggest that exposure to the ultraviolet rays of tanning beds or from the sun can cause changes in the brain which are similar to drug addiction. The author of the study Dr Bryon Adinoff said that the brain reacts to UV light in areas associated with reward - which is why some people become addicted to tanning despite the health risks associated with the activity.
It’s something a lot of us do without thinking (especially in the winter months) but putting on lip balm can actually become something of a psychological addiction. Although lip balm gives temporary moisture, it can also disrupt the formation of natural moisture and cellular turnover which in turn, leads to you applying greater amounts of lip balm to try and balance out the drying effects. Unlike some other addictions, putting on lip balm is not life threatening, but there are many online forums that offer help to people who compulsively apply lip balm.
Video games might seem like a harmless pastime but research has suggested that it may be much worse than this. Research by Douglas Gentile, of Iowa State University found that of Americans aged 8-18 who play video games, 8.5 per cent show multiple signs of addictive behaviour. Many countries have also developed specialist centres that help people cope with this addiction. As with any addiction, the effects of too much gaming can ruin careers, relationships and in extreme cases, there have been gamers who have died from exhaustion.