1: Surfing the internet
You may think that browsing the internet is nothing more than a pleasant way to pass some time. However, researchers in China revealed that internet addiction actually alters the brain in a similar way to addictions to drugs and alcohol. It is thought that sufferers of Internet addiction disorder (IAD) could face similar symptoms to those suffering from other addictions, including withdrawal symptoms. One study of users of internet-ready smartphones found that many are so addicted to their device they now hear “phantom vibrations” in their desperation to receive a message.
2: Falling in love
We all know that a person who goes from relationship to relationship, never seeming to spend more than five minutes alone. Well, according to research, it may be that they are actually addicted to falling in love! Yep, that heart-racing, euphoric feeling of falling in love… turns out you can get hooked on it. According to psychologist Arthur Aron, who led a study investigating love addiction, falling in love activates the same system in the brain as drug addiction, making you crave that feeling again as soon as the first flush of love starts to fade.
We all crave our favourite sweet treat from time to time, but did you know you may actually be addicted to snacks such as doughnuts and chocolate? Studies have suggested that when we eat sugary snacks, chemicals called opiods are released in the brain, leading to intense feelings of pleasure, and it is this feeling we often crave in the absence of sugar. In fact, according to research by a University of California team, sugar is both as damaging and as addictive as both alcohol and cigarettes.
Although most of us look forward to the weekends, for those suffering from a work addiction these days, being away from the office may not be quite as treasured. While many of us jokingly use the term “workaholic”, research suggests this is a real condition that can jeopardize sufferers’ health and relationships – it is not simply a case of “working hard”.
5: Video games
Across the world, teenagers are holed up in their rooms in front of television or computer screens feverishly playing video games, yet research suggests this may not be as harmless as it seems. A 2006 BBC-reported lecture revealed that 12 per cent of online gamers polled reported some addictive behaviors, while many countries across the world have set up treatment centres to deal with this growing addiction. Just like any addiction, compulsive gaming can jeopardise relationships and careers, and there have even been cases of excessive gamers dying from exhaustion.
Most of us love buying something new, whether it is the latest life-enhancing gadget or a gift for a loved one. However, for some, buying new things can become a destructive addiction. Shopping addiction (or omniomania) is thought to be caused by a rush of endorphins and dopamine which cause the shopper to experience a temporary “high” which they want to experience again. Many shopping addicts use shopping as a way to escape from negative feelings or situations in their life, however the addiction can actually lead to further problems both financially and emotionally.
We all have our favourite songs, the ones we listen to over and over again, but did you ever consider you could be addicted to your favourite music? According to a study by researchers at McGill University, you may well be. The study revealed that when we listen to music we experience a natural “high” and our body releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter also released when people take drugs or eat pleasurable foods. According to the researchers, dopamine makes us want to repeat behaviors, which is the reason we can become addicted to our favourite music.