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10 Unusual Things a Human Mind Can Get Addicted To


Many of us are familiar with common addictions like drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and gambling. However, the human brain can become hooked on other things. Here are ten unusual things a person can develop an addiction to:

1. Shopping: Known as oniomania, the obsession with shopping can lead to accumulating massive amounts of unnecessary items. The act of buying releases dopamine in the brain, creating a high that shopaholics constantly crave. This addiction often leads to significant financial troubles and storage issues.

2. Tanning: Some people become so hooked on UV light exposure in tanning beds that they put their health at great risk. Frequent tanners enjoy the cosmetic effects and mood boost from tanning, which can become a psychological and physical dependence. Over time, the risks of skin cancer and other problems dramatically go up, which is why addiction treatment is needed.

3. Plastic Surgery: Plastic surgery addiction, also called body dysmorphic disorder, is a dangerous obsession with altering one’s appearance through cosmetic procedures. People with this addiction perceive normal, minor flaws as grotesque deformities requiring surgical correction. The underlying psychiatric disorder distorts self-image and causes severe distress no matter how much surgery is performed.

4. Falling in Love: The euphoric rush of a new romance causes extensive dopamine release, making falling in love highly addictive for some. Serial daters hop from one relationship to the next, constantly chasing the emotional high without developing real intimacy and connection.  

5. Video Games: Online gaming, role-playing games, competitive eSports, and more can hijack the brain's reward system. The sense of accomplishment from leveling up or scoring fuels an obsessive desire for more. Video game addicts lose perspective, withdrawing from school, work, and real-world relationships.

6. Social Media: From Facebook and Instagram to YouTube and TikTok, the dopamine-driven feedback loop of likes, comments, and shares keeps social media addicts glued to their screens for hours. The fear of missing out (FOMO) heightens the compulsion to keep scrolling and posting.

7. Eating Non-Food Items: A condition called pica causes people to crave and compulsively consume things that have no nutritional value. This could include dirt, clay, laundry detergent, glue, hair, and other bizarre items that pose serious health hazards. The causes may be linked to iron or zinc deficiency, OCD, pregnancy, or trauma.  

8. Starvation: Known as anorexia mirabilis in times past, some people compulsively restrict food intake due to a psychological obsession with starvation. While not driven by body image issues like anorexia, food deprivation produces a high for these individuals, along with a sense of control and moral superiority. Without intervention, the results can be devastating.

9. Love Bombing: Giving excessive affection early in a relationship through constant texts, gifts, compliments, and declarations of devotion can make some new partners addicted to such intense attention. Love bombing hooks the brain's reward centers if the recipient has dependency issues or lacks self-worth. The come-down when this emotional rush inevitably fades is quite harsh.  

10. Outrage: Whether political scandals or offensive tweets, the brain processes outrage similarly to danger which triggers addictive fight-or-flight responses. The intense emotions of anger and disgust in reaction to perceived injustice provide their unhealthy kind of high for some, fueling constantly outraged keyboard warriors.

Of course, this list merely scratches the surface of the endlessly bizarre obsessions the human mind can generate. Understanding the common neurological roots of addictive behavior helps demystify our strangest preoccupations and addictions. Knowledge combined with self-awareness, professional help, and a supportive environment can overcome almost any entrenched pattern, no matter how unusual.

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