When we think of addictions, we think about drugs like heroin and cocaine. But what about addictions considered strange or unique? Let this quiz put your knowledge of addiction to the test.
Like an addiction to alcohol or heroin, addictions to what some would consider strange or unique things are also a way to control or avoid pain or distress. The drug of choice, whatever it may manifest as, if used in an effort to self-medicate instead of learning coping mechanisms to deal with stress and discomfort.
When a person craves and eats non-food items for a period of at least one month, they may be diagnosed with pica (known as geophagia when a person eats dirt and other earth-based substances). Pica is a disorder that affects an estimated 25 to 30 percent of kids, and it can be a symptom of some mental health disorders. It is also seen in some pregnant women. Pica may be caused by nutritional deficiencies, or developmental or mental health disorders.
Tanning addicts put themselves at risk for developing skin cancer but also -- according to a 2006 study conducted at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center -- experience symptoms of withdrawal, including nausea and jitters when they aren't able to get to a tanning bed. Tanning exposes us to UV radiation, which triggers our bodies to produce endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that make us feel good, similar to a runner's high or addictive drugs.
Electroshock therapy is often an option for patients with severe depression, psychosis, suicidal intent, mania and severe schizophrenia when medications and other therapy methods aren't effective.
People with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) have a distorted body image. They are obsessed about their bodies, appearance and what others think of them. Often, they try to "fix" their physical appearance through multiple plastic surgery procedures, which they may find unsatisfactory or insufficient.
People who are chronic, obsessive hair-pullers live with an impulse control disorder called trichotillomania or "trich." They may pull hair from their scalp, leaving bald patches, or on other parts of their body including eyelashes, eyebrows, or pubic hair -- any hair, any location. Trich affects an estimated 2 to 10 million Americans, of all ages.
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is a relatively new disorder characterized by excessive use of the Internet, not about spending money. Symptoms may include withdrawal -- including anger and depression when not able to use the Internet -- and negative repercussions, such as problems in relationships, school or work as a result of time spent online, as well as a need for longer periods of time spent online.
Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter, and it's believed to act as our brain's reward button. It's behind our cravings for sex, food and other pleasurable activities. When we do something pleasurable, our brain is flooded with dopamine; we feel great -- and seek out the pleasurable experience again and again.
A study conducted at Stanford University School of Medicine finds that at least one in 20 Americans is a compulsive shopper. Compulsive shopping, or compulsive buying disorder, is characterized by feelings of elation upon making purchases combined with negative consequences of excessive spending including hiding purchases, low self-esteem, relationship issues and debt problems.
Compulsive exercisers work out as often as possible and, when not working out, think about exercise. Exercise addicts often have symptoms of withdrawal, including irritability and anxiety or depression, when unable to exercise, and are likely to continue their rigid exercise programs despite injury or illness.