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Top 13 Addictions of Our Modern Times

Top 13 Addictions of Our Modern Times


According to best-selling author of Addict Nation, Jane Velez-Mitchell, human beings are capable of becoming addicted to virtually anything, from plastic surgery to texting.

Below is a list of the most common addictions in of our modern times:

 1.       Workaholism (Work Addiction)

Workaholics often earn respect in the modern commercial world, where every second is your chance to earn more. But this excessive commitment to labor draws every bit of energy from the addict. The lines between hard work and workaholism begin to blur. Workaholics, like other addicts, get a reality jolt only when something critical happens to their health and relationships.

In Japan, they have a word for that fatal blow. It’s called Karoshi or “death by overwork”. The phenomenon created a stir when in 1980’s a few Japanese executives died without any history of illness.

2.       Love Addiction

There is only one a slight difference between a love addict and a jilted lover. The love addict will never let it go, affecting his health and relationships until he falls in love again (and that might take a long time).

A recent CNN report (“Love Addiction – How To Break It”) quoted Psychology Today, explaining how infatuation can produce a rise in phenylethylamine (PEA), a neurological chemical that gives euphoria when someone falls in love.

The report also featured the study done by anthropologist Helen Fisher who found that people who are infatuated share symptoms with cocaine abusers, like sleeplessness and loss of sense of time.

3.       Television Addiction

The problem with television is that people must sit and keep their eyes glued to the screen. Today, an average American watches his TV set for more than four hours a day. This means that by the age of sixty-five this sad old man would have spent nine years of his life glued to the “idiot box”.

TV addicts share many clinical abuse symptoms like helplessness in putting an end to the addiction, using television to soothe nerves, and irritability when forced to discontinue the habit.

4.       Prescription Pill Addiction

There’s a growing trend in America to try and solve all manner of discomfort – real or imagined, physical or emotional, with a pill. Pharmaceutical drugs like Vicodin, Oxycodone, Ambien, Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium fill medicine cabinets and are killing us. Nationwide, deaths from prescription drug overdoses are the second-leading cause of accidental death behind car accidents. In some states, prescription overdoses are the leading cause of accidental death.

5.       Teeth Whitening Addiction

They have been called bleaching junkies and they have made teeth whitening the top requested cosmetic dental procedure in the U.S. (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry). There has been a 300 percent growth in the number of people who get hooked on to teeth whitening products and treatments. The consequences are as horrible as in other addictions.

Excessive teeth sensitivity, bleeding gums, and transparent teeth are common complaints at dentists’ clinics. The treatment involves making the patients more confident about their appearance and smile.

6.       Food Addiction

Millions of Americans have been self-medicating with fat and sugar for so long the activity has become a standard of living. As a result, our country is suffering from a mind-blowing obesity crisis.

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

It would be safe to say obesity is our nation’s biggest health issue, and reports show this epidemic impacts every facet of our lives – from health care to global warming. We’re fat! Our kids are fat! The situation is making us miserable, sick, unattractive and costing us a fortune.

7.       Exercise Addiction

Following the food addiction is the compulsive excessive exerciser seems like a creature from another planet to those of us who need an earthquake to move us off of our couches. However, this species does exist and is as human as the rest of us. The only difference is that even an earthquake would find it difficult to dislodge these addicts from their treadmills.

A study published by Behavioral Neuroscience in August 2009 found similarities between excessive running and drug-abuse behavior.

Exercise addiction statistics are hard to find because it usually co-exists with other eating disorders. Like other addicts, the treadmill abusers sacrifice their health and social life for their addiction.

8.       Oniomania (Shopping Addiction)

It’s not just celebrities who are afflicted by this addiction.

We don’t have to look far to find Oniomaniacs or compulsive shoppers in almost every neighborhood and family. Compulsive shopping can often lead to hoarding and requires help through hoarding treatment centers. According to a 2006 study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, compulsive buying affects more than 1 in 20 American adults.

This impulse to buy beyond needs or means has been linked to depression and has led many shopaholics to the brink of bankruptcy. This learned impulse is strongly linked to the Western Culture, where all manner of artificial needs that are really not needed at all is deeply imprinted into our brains from the moment we begin ingesting advertisements and marketing ploys.

New cars, tech gadgets, baby showers, and the ever-growing number of holidays are opportunities to enforce the rules of the cult. It’s about keeping up with the “Jones’”. Shockingly, the United States accounts for about five percent of the world’s population and almost one-third of global consumption. As we shop our way into massive debt as a nation, the freight train of over-consumption is only accelerating.

9.       Addiction to Crime and Punishment

What’s surpassed baseball as our #1 national pastime?


America’s extreme fixation on violence and murder has reached epidemic proportions, and it is hurting us emotionally and financially. Our justice system prefers to spend untold millions of tax dollars—sealing off the crime scene, forensic testing, offering rewards, arresting the suspect, holding news conferences, going to trial, and then locking up, feeding, clothing and guarding the convicted criminal—rather than spend a tiny sliver of that cost preventing crime in the first place. This addictive mindset is a crime in itself.

10.   Tanorexia or Tanning Addiction

Thank goodness for Donatella Versace. Not for her fashion line, but for her recent images that have deterred many people from falling prey to a tanning addiction.

The medical community is concerned about tanning and advises against the use of tanning beds. “The International Agency for Research on Cancer has raised their warning of tanning beds from “probably carcinogenic to humans” to “carcinogenic to humans” (livescience.com). Yet, tanorexia (or tanning addiction) continues to be a problem, especially among women.

Addicts might feel that they are just getting a healthy glow, but a 2006 study at Wake Forest University study found that the UV rays of tanning beds produce feel-good endorphins in body. So, a disruption in tanning schedules triggers withdrawal symptoms like in cases of alcohol/drug abuse.

11.   Sex Addiction

The craving for sexual gratification is as old as human history. But modern dysfunctional families are often blamed for turning a human urge into sexually compulsive behavior, and some feel that easy Internet access has only added to the woes.

The American Psychological Association does not put sex addiction under a disorder that can be diagnosed. But growing numbers of self-help groups and sex recovery centers like Sexual compulsive Anonymous and Sex Addicts Anonymous show a problem that is present and needs medical attention.

12.   Internet Addiction

As technology plays a bigger role in our lives and enables us to communicate with family and friends, access information at an impeccable speed, allow us to shop in our underwear and entertain us with instant movies and game downloads, it is no wonder people can be online for hours at a stretch, and do not want to shut down their PC.

But if internet habits disrupt your daily routine, a disruption in which leaves you irritable, you might be suffering from an Internet Addiction Disorder (IA).

Psychiatrists world over are acknowledging the mood-altering effects of online pornography, gambling, gaming, networking, blogging, etc.  In some countries, Internet addiction has become a serious social problem. A South Korean government survey of 2007 found that 30 percent of its citizens under 18 were in danger of becoming Internet addicts.

Sadly, dodging this addiction is extremely hard because of the nature of the all-encompassing Internet. There is e-mail, texting, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Google, Yahoo, iTunes, and innumerable chat rooms. The Internet also acts as a porthole for other addictions like online gambling and porn, making it easy to score with a simple click.

In the United States, a residential treatment center opened its doors for Internet addicts in 2009.  Located near Seattle, Washington, it is called ReStart and offers a 45-day program for recovery.

13. Plastic Surgery

Negative body image is driving hordes of people under the surgical knife. Celebrities, television and reality TV shows make facelifts, tummy tucks and breast augmentations common vernacular in most households. A little nip, a bit of a tuck, some enlargement, and a whole lot of alignment, everyone, not just people living in the metropolitan areas are paying and going under the knife for their idea of body and face perfection.

In 2006, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons warned its members about patients with a body dysmorphic disorder or “imagined ugly syndrome”. Aesthetic surgery is an unending journey for these addicts because they are never happy with the results. The organization reported an alarming study that found forty percent of Botox users admitting to being lured by the attraction of continued treatment.


Resources: TopTenz.net, ListVerse.com, UniversityTimes.com, WebMD

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