Obscure Addictions That Are More Common Than You Think 

Nathan Gibson
2.7k views 12 items

Millions of people around the world suffer from addictions. These disorders of the brain compel people to carry out behaviors that often have harmful or adverse consequences. There are many different types of things that people can be addicted to, but they all share certain traits in common. As well as having an overall negative impact on people's lives, they usually stem from the activation of certain reward responses in the brain. The release of dopamine and endorphins lead to people becoming dependent on whatever substance or activity is stimulating them.

While most people are aware of the concept of addiction, they are probably only aware of a few kinds. These usually involve substances such as drugs and alcohol that people get hooked on after abusing them. Yet, there are far more obscure addictions that some members of the population suffer from. And although they might seem bizarre and rare, the truth is that many of them are much more common than you might think.

Getting Intimate With Vehicles
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Video: YouTube

Mechanophilia is the clinical name for a sexual attraction to machines that commonly presents itself as an arousal from vehicles including cars, bikes and motorcycles. Although there are no hard numbers or estimates available about the number of people who engage in sexual activities with cars, there have been dozens of case studies over the past few decades documenting the activity. 

One Washington state native claims to have had sex with 1000 cars and says he was never interested in sex from anyone or anything else. He also says the internet has helped him connect with 500 people who had the same attraction to cars and other vehicles.

Exercising Constantly
Exercising Constantly is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Obscure Addictions That Are More Common Than You Think
Photo:  Mike Baird/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Regular exercise is almost always portrayed as being a healthy pursuit. However, for a small number of people, it can quickly turn into an addiction that swallows up their entire lives. Estimates from various studies suggest that up to 3 percent of regular gym users may actually be addicted to exercise, suggesting that nearly 30 out of every 1,000 people are at risk.

The addiction is usually categorized as a compulsion to do physical exercise despite the potentially negative consequences. Those who become addicted will have a tendency to plan their schedules meticulously to allow for the most amount of time to be spent at the gym. They will also work out regardless of the effect it could have on their social lives or if they are carrying an injury, which can prove incredibly dangerous. The health of those suffering from exercise addiction may become worse due to exhaustion or it could even exacerbate other medical problems.

Playing Video Games
Playing Video Games is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Obscure Addictions That Are More Common Than You Think
Photo:  Comedy Central

For years parents have worried that their kids are becoming addicted to video games for what seems like no reason. Yet, it is true that people can become addicted to any game they play. And the problem is becoming increasingly widespread, with those addicted noticing that their game playing is interfering significantly with their lives.

The problem is particularly bad in some Asian countries. In South Korea, nearly 1 in 10 teenagers may be addicted to gaming and the government has opened up special clinics to help those affected. The problem has become a national dilemma as those who are addicted suffer from sleep deprivation, seizures, and mood swings. One documented case 2010 even saw a young girl starve to death as her parents were too engrossed in their game to feed her.

Getting Tattoos
Getting Tattoos is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Obscure Addictions That Are More Common Than You Think
Photo: Alexander Kuzovlev/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

In recent years, more and more people have begun to get multiple tattoos rather than just one or two pieces of ink. Even more dramatic is the rise of those who cover almost their entire bodies with the artwork. While there has been a lot of research done on the subject of tattoos, there is still little understanding about exactly why so many people become addicted to going under the needle.

It’s even more intriguing because those who are addicted don’t show any of the usual signs of suffering from an addiction. Most researchers suggest that the need to appear to others as a unique individual may play a major role. However, many also believe that the actual process of getting a tattoo is the driving force, as it puts people in control of their bodies, which can be incredibly satisfying.