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7 Seemingly Harmless Addictions That Can Ruin Your Life

Updated on July 1, 2019
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Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.

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Addiction. This nine-letter word impacts the lives of millions of people around the world. Scientists and psychologists consider addiction to be a form of brain disorder, in which the sufferer repeats compulsive engagements with a substance, thing, person, or activity — regardless of the negative consequences.


Let’s discuss seven rising addictions, excluding the obvious (drugs and alcohol).


1. Throwing Money Away, Hoping to Get More

According to Addictions.com, 80 percent of adults in the United States gamble on an annual basis. Rolling the dice and going all-in gives the brain a substantial hit of dopamine — a hormone and neurotransmitter that makes you happy. That happiness, however, will only last until your savings deplete and your family walks out of your life.


2. Getting the Perfect Tan

We live in a self-absorbed world where a great tan matters more than avoiding skin cancer. Addiction to ultraviolet (UV) rays, whether natural or artificial, can lead to painful sunburns and melanoma. Others might become so obsessed with their appearance and develop body dysmorphic disorder, which is one of today’s most destructive forms of mental disorders.


3. Going Under the Knife

Speaking of body dysmorphic disorder, some people crave more than a simple tan. Addiction to plastic surgery begins with insecurity, which cosmetic procedures promise to “correct.” Some women start with a few facial injections, then a nose job, followed by a breast augmentation.

All women are beautiful — PERIOD. Sadly, many of them focus too much on “ugly features” that only they see. The explanation behind this phenomenon is the same brain chemical that triggers addiction (dopamine).


4. Breaking a Sweat

Harvard Health Publishing notes that exercising shows promise in helping people recover from addiction. This is because activities such as running, boxing, and swimming distracts the mind. However, the excessive amount of endorphins released when exercising can be addicting. If you suffer from body image issues, take precautions to avoid getting hooked on exercise.


5. Indulging the Sweet Tooth

Oh sweet, decadent chocolate. This melt-in-your-mouth treat is one of the hardest addictions to quit for many people. Chocolate and other sustenances with high contents of fat, sugar, and carbohydrates may evoke similar behavioral reactions as drugs and alcohol. Feeding this addiction can also lead to a myriad of health problems, such as obesity, high blood sugar, and heart disease.


6. Texting, Taking Selfies, and Using FaceTime

Did you know 66 percent of the world population has signs of smartphone addiction? Yes, nomophobia is real, and you may be one of the millions of people with this problem. You can determine whether your smartphone addiction is serious when the simple act of limiting your exposure leaves you anxious, almost like you are having coffee withdrawals.


7. Liking, Posting, and Tweeting

Last but not least, there is no question that social media is one of the most common addictions in the 21st Century. In some ways, we’ve all been guilty of spending too much time on Facebook and Instagram. But a large percentage of social media users are dangerously addicted, evident in these statistics from MediaKix:


  • 45 percent of people go on social media instead of sleeping

  • Teenagers spend up to nine hours on social media every day

  • 90 percent of drivers check social media while behind the wheel


Ask Yourself, “Am I an Addict?”

To ensure that you are not compulsively obsessed with any of the seven addicting examples above, take time during the day to monitor your habits. If you have a strong urge to exercise, gamble, use your phone, or even eat chocolate to the point where stopping yourself makes you uneasy, shaky, and almost like you are losing your mind — you may have a severe addiction. Talk to those who have your best interests at heart, and seek professional help.

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    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 

      11 months ago from North Carolina

      I agree with Lorna. Very interesting article. I found myself getting addicted to my smartphone a few years ago. I've since taken action to limit my screen time haha.

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      11 months ago

      This is an excellent article and definitely thought provoking. Thank you for sharing.

    • Erudite Scholar profile image

      Jeff Zod 

      11 months ago from Nairobi

      Hi Fredda

      Thanks for your eye opening article. We live in a world of constant stimulus. People are constantly reaching for a 'pick me up' to get their high. Others are on their smartphones constantly. People do not even know the extent of their addictions.

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