The Top 10 Most Addictive Behaviors
Usually, we think of addiction as it relates to drugs, alcohol or other chemicals. But addiction can happen with almost anything that stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain. Even normal behaviours can get out of hand if the person becomes addicted to them or uses them as a means of escape from life or responsibility. Some behaviours are more likely to result in addiction, however, as they are behaviours known to stimulate pleasure centers as well as being used to escape from the pressures of ‘real life’. While all of these behaviours can be a part of a healthy life for most adults, too much time spent chasing after the feelings they bring can isolate a person. This isolation leads to more dependence on the behaviour in order to feel good. Over time, this can make anything turn from an enjoyable activity into a full blown addiction.
Sex makes the top of the list since it provides the greatest release of endorphins and feel-good chemicals into the brain and throughout the body. Even the lead up to sex – the anticipation of meeting someone, the rush of a first kiss – all of these feelings can become addictive. Sex addiction can result in increased risk-taking as well as emotional and physical problems.
Shopping is another activity which releases plenty of endorphins into the body. While there’s nothing wrong with engaging in a bit of ‘retail therapy‘, going overboard when it comes to shopping can result in an addiction which will clear out your bank account and could lead to other problems.
Beginning to collect, or hoard, too many items is often a side-effect of someone with a shopping addiction. As item enter the home, no items are being thrown out or given away in order to create more room. The result is a home cluttered with items which get lost in the shuffle and eventually buried under other items and even garbage. This kind of addiction can escalate into full blown hoarding and can ruin not only home, but also the lives of those in it.
Everyone loves that rush you get when you win a bit on a scratch off card or sweepstakes. Winning makes everyone feel good and, for some, that can lead to a life spend chasing that Winner’s High over and over again. A gambling addiction can be especially dangerous as it is often something done in secret and escalates until a person has cleaned out their bank account – sometimes without their husband or wife ever knowing there’s a problem.
Pornography addiction can often be lumped together with Sex Addiction since both are responses to someone chasing after the endorphin-fueled high of sexual gratification. A pornography addiction differs from sex addiction in that pornography isolates the user and prevents him or her from pursuing a meaningful real-world relationship with another adult.
People who love taking risks and engaging in extreme sports or recreation activities are sometimes called Adrenaline Junkies. While these pursuits can be simply part of an active lifestyle, some people become addiction to that adrenaline rush and begin to chase after it just as a drug user chases after a chemical high. This kind of addiction can be dangerous in that it can lead to poor decision making and a disregard for personal safety.
Eating is often called one of the most basic pleasures in the world. But eating disorders born out of addiction to food or dieting can be destructive and even fatal. Bulimia and Anorexia are two of the most common forms of addictive eating behaviour but there are many other types of addiction including thoughtless eating, binging and secret eating. All of these can cause problem not only psychologically but also physically as the behaviours themselves can lead to malnourishment or obesity.
For most people, work is simply another part of their busy lives. But some people become so singularly focused on their careers that the rest of their lives fall into disarray. Families are ignored and sometimes abandoned altogether and even a person’s personal health can be compromised from over-work and the stress it brings.
Video games have become more and more popular over the past few decades. Gaming systems now appeal not only to children or teenagers but to many adults and, in some cases, can become so addictive that people allow their friendships and familial relationships to suffer as they become immersed in the world of the video game.
Strange as it may sound, even surfing the Internet can become addictive to people who have a hard time relating to people in a real world setting. Being online can make people feel less inhibited and more assertive but too much time surfing online can lead to problems in their own relationships as well as exacerbating difficulties connecting with and relating to people directly.