10 Everyday Addictions You Probably Don't Know You Have

Top Tips June 8, 2018 By Hugo

Addiction plagues more people than you think- and that may include you. While the word itself is usually synonymous with drugs and alcohol, there are many other substances and behaviors that we have an unhealthy obsession with, and over time, this can lead to destructive behavior.

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To help identify whether you might have a problem, here are ten everyday habits that people often get hooked on. 

1. Dating

Dating is a part of life most single people go through in their quest for true love, but in recent years, the commodification of dating has become dangerously extreme, and dating apps like Tinder have been a major cause of this problem.

Endemic to a significant portion of millennials, the number of choices presented to us means we often dismiss people based on their appearance and filter our options to those that we think are our ideal matches. But in reality, this constant picking and choosing of human beings can make you forget they are actually people and not sweets in a candy store. It can be liberating to know we have more choice, but if you become accustomed to this behavior, you may never be satisfied.

2. Sex

Sex addiction used to be viewed with ridicule and scorn, but in recent years celebrities like Russell Brand and David Duchovny have been open about their struggles which may have made others feel less ashamed coming forward. In fact, around 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are affected by sex addiction.

In many cases, these individuals suffer from an existential feeling of hopelessness and find it hard to commit to just one person, so cope with the issue by seeking instant gratification in a series of sexual encounters, often spawned from one night stands or a dependency to pornography.

3. The Internet 

You're reading this article and probably have at least a dozen other tabs open, but you're not addicted to the Internet, are you? Well, maybe you are. Typically, Internet addiction is described as a compulsive disorder, and in an age of quick-fix likes and social validation platforms like Instagram offer, people can depend on this behavior on a daily basis. If this sounds like a pattern you have gotten into, then you might want to alter the amount of time you spend on your phone and laptop.

For instance, if you find yourself unable to concentrate on anything else when your phone isn't within touching distance, then it could help to incorporate a new routine into your life, such as switching it off an hour before you go to bed.

4. Gambling

A flutter on the horses every once in a while is a harmless bit of fun, but for those with addictive tendencies, the rush of a win can prove destructive in the long-run. Without playing to age-old tropes, the house really does win, and casinos and betting shops are deliberately designed to rope punters in with free bets in the hopes they get a winning feeling and return as often as possible.

Unsurprisingly, gambling is one of the most destructive addictions, and studies have shown that the rush gambling spawns lights up the same parts of the brain as drugs, and as such the addiction is treated with the same kind of therapy. 

5. Shopping

Retail therapy can be a great way to treat yourself after a hard day or fix your low self-esteem, but in an increasing number of cases, addiction to shopping (especially online shopping) is becoming more and more endemic.

While experts prefer to label it an impulse control disorder, the fact that so many retailers offer their goods online means all you need to do is open a laptop and punch in your credit card details. This is an instant form of gratification that we feel will make us feel better, but like with anything, moderation is key, and if you find yourself with a closet full of unworn items, you may want to work on a plan to help combat this needless spending.

6. Video games

Video games aren't only the preserve of school children and spotty teens. The adult gaming industry is a lucrative business with online games like Fortnite now paying professional gamers thousands of dollars in competitive gaming fees, and with such lucrative prizes, you can see why people devote an unhealthy amount of time to their favorite video games.

In fact, research has found that 1 in 10 video gamers between the ages of 8-18 are "out-of-control" gamers, while many adults, especially in places like Japan where gaming culture is almost a religion, are suffering from a lack of social confidence.

7. Work

Yes, work addiction is real, so real, in fact, that people have been known to run themselves into the ground with exhaustion in the hopes of a pay rise and pleasing their bosses.

If this sounds like you, then learn to take a backseat in the office and remember that a job should never define you. It's what you do five days a week, and it likely won't be something you think of on your deathbed.

8. Cigarettes

Compared to any other drug, tobacco has the highest amount of addicts and causes more deaths than any other addiction.

But despite numerous efforts from different governments to put people off tobacco through increased taxes, and placing warning images on packets, smokers find it difficult to give up their addiction and it remains one of the hardest habits to give up. 

9. Food

Since the emergence of supermarkets and fast food chains, obesity in the Western world has become a significant problem. In America alone, 3 percent of adults are affected by obesity, and countries such as Tonga and Kuwait are experiencing similar issues.

If you feel guilty after eating abnormal amounts of food, or can't control your eating binges, then you might have a problem, especially if you eat for reasons unrelated to appetite.

10. Risky Behavior

While it can be cool and commendable to engage in high-octane activities such as skydiving and rock climbing, the feel-good endorphins sent to our brain receptors are often on par with the rush drug addicts experience.

This is why you have people engaging in life-defying stunts and sporting activities on a daily basis, regardless of their life being risked. 

If you've reached the end of this article, then you might have even identified yourself as a possible addict. While many on this list are compulsive disorders instead of traditional addictions, they all share the same psychological and social traits, and should be met with appropriate treatment.


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