Addictions are powerful chemical dependencies that don’t always make sense to outsiders, or sometimes even psychologists. What we do know is that if the brain likes what it tastes, feels or sees, anything and everything can become addictive.
Here are some addictions you didn’t know existed.
• Eating Cigarette Ashes: Addiction to eating cigarette ashes is a form of pica disorder, in which a person craves foods with no nutritional value. People who eat cigarette ashes may have nutritional deficiencies or be anemic. Excessive consumption of cigarette ashes could be toxic and cause gastrointestinal issues.
• Eating Chalk: Chalk eating is a common form of pica disorder that affect both children and adults. Even though it is labeled as non-hazardous, excessive chalk eating can be harmful to your health. Chalk may be contaminated during the manufacturing process and could contain metal shavings, rodent droppings and traces of chemicals that may be dangerous to ingest.
• Eating Glass: Glass eating, also called hyalophagia, is a pathological and pica disorder that is very dangerous. People who are addicted to eating glass may sustain internal injuries and have serious gastrointestinal issues. Glass eating has been a performance technique for years, and many addicts enjoy the attention that comes with eating glass.
• Hair Pulling: Hair pulling, also called trichotillomania, is an overwhelming addiction to pulling, twisting and plucking hair from the scalp or face. People who are addicted to pulling their hair typically have bald spots and may disguise their condition by wearing wigs or hats. The cause of hair pulling is not completely clear, but researchers believe genetic and environmental factors contribute to this painful addiction.
• Eating Toilet Paper: Toilet paper is another common non-food item consumed by people with pica disorder. Even though toilet paper may seem harmless because we use it on our skin every day, it can contain trace contaminants and chemicals from the manufacturing process. Not only is it unsafe to ingest these chemicals, but toilet paper is not easily digested by the body.
• Eating Soap: Believe it or not, there are quite a few people who not only enjoy having a bar of soap in their mouths, but they like to eat it too. Eating soap is a form of pica disorder that can have some serious health consequences. The toxic chemicals in soap can cause digestive problems, metabolic changes and affect the blood stream.
• Eating Laundry Detergent: Eating laundry detergent is a form of pica disorder, in which the consumer retains no nutritional value from the product. This addiction poses a serious danger to one’s health when consumed in excess. Laundry detergent is full of toxic ingredients, such as phosphates, chlorine bleach, corrosive acids and fillers that can make you sick to your stomach and cause several other health complications.
• Thumb Sucking: Thumb sucking is an addiction shared by children and adults alike. There are many reasons why people suck their thumbs during adulthood, such as anxiety and security. Aside from public humiliation and embarrassment, adults who are addicted to sucking their thumb might experience dental problems, social isolation and shame.
• Bodybuilding: Bodybuilding is something that can start out as normal and healthy, but can become very addictive in no time. Extreme bodybuilding can lead to many unhealthy practices, such as steroid usage. The obsession with being as muscular and strong as possible puts serious strain on one’s body and heart and can lead to disordered eating, as well.
• Tattoos: For many people, tattoos are like potato chips — you can never have just one. However, there comes a point where getting tattoos can become a serious addiction. Tattoo addicts may be obsessed with the pain of the needle and the adrenaline response, as well as the attention they get from having tons of tattoos. The more tattoos a person gets the greater their chances are for having allergic reactions, skin infections and contracting blood-borne diseases.
• Piercings: Piercings, much like tattoos, can be very addictive. Whether it’s the pain of piercing the skin or the attention it draws, people can become addicted to piercings in an unhealthy way. There are some serious risks involved with excessive piercing, such as bacterial infections, allergic reactions, blood-borne diseases and damage to nerves.