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10 of the Strangest Addictions

Editor Dan Schimmel, LCSW, CAP
Created On
Updated On

We all have our bad habits and quirks, but some are worse than others. Your addiction could be as mild as sucking your thumb at the age of 35 or as extreme as eating dirt. Our list of the 10 Strangest Addictions outlines just how bizarre these odd habits and quirks can be.

Thumb Sucking

thumb sucking
Source | Thumb Sucking

Thousands of people around the world are stuck in a habit of thumb sucking. While most give up this habit as children there are others that do it throughout their adulthood, even Grandparents are still sucking their thumbs.

Scientifically thumb sucking has been labeled as an oral fixation, which can be considered completely normal. It is an instinct that we are born with, to nurse, and it brings us comfort and nourishment, however when it turns to long term thumb sucking it can become unhealthy.

Many adults use thumb sucking as a stress reliever. Most hide this juvenile habit from the  general public others will slip up and stick their thumb in their mouth if their anxiety reaches a high and the stress is too much on them. While it is not going to cause them to age any faster than those who do not suck their thumbs it can cause buck teeth, chapped thumbs, and sores and fissures in the folds of the thumb.

Hair Pulling

pulling hair
Source | Hair Pulling

As bizarre as hair pulling is to the average person it is a legitimate medical condition known as Trichotillomania. Those suffering from this condition are overwhelmed by the irresistible urge to pull out hair from their scalp, eyebrows or other areas of their body.When pulling hair from their scalp they are often left with patchy bald spots, that they will do all they can to hide.

Some people are able to manage their Trichotillomania, but for others the hair pulling urge is too strong. For you and I the thought of pulling out our own hair makes you quiver but for a person suffering from Trichotillomania they find relief with each hair they pull from their body, some going to great lengths of getting the hair right from the root.

Lets face it, Trichotillomania is not a common condition to know of. This is because those suffering from an addiction to hair pulling are ashamed and will go to great lengths to hide their condition. Many people that are addicted to hair pulling say that they feel alone. With psychotherapy and support group sessions those addicted to hair pulling can find ways to manage their Trichotillomania.


different types of makeup
Source | Makeup

Makeup addiction seems a little silly right? Well no, thousands of women have addictions to make and find themselves spending large amounts of money on a regular basis and applying vast amounts of makeup to their faces each day just to step out the door for a moment. Without the make they feel naked and unable to function, overwhelmed by anxiety. They compulsively apply makeup throughout the day.

These women with addiction to Makeup will do all that they can to ensure that they are not caught out of their comfort zone having the right amount of makeup applied at any given time. Some even remove and reapply makeup before going to bed each night.

Many say what is the harm in a makeup addiction, its not hurting anyone. It is a compulsion that causes psychological damage to the individual. It is also causing harm to the individuals skin with pores begin covered by layers of makeup on a regular basis.


exlax laxative
Source | Laxative

Developing an addiction to Laxatives is easier than one may think. When using laxatives on a regular basis the body become dependent on them to produce a regular bowel movement. The body becomes unable to eliminate waste properly and the person is taking Laxatives on a daily basis.

Many people develop this odd addiction to Laxatives under the misconception that they will help them to lose weight. This is far from the truth. The body has already taken the calories from the food you’ve eaten by the time it reaches the colon, the laxative simply helps the digested food move through much faster than allowing nature to take its course. If you do lose weight from a laxative you can bet it will be back within the next 48 hours as it is just water weight.

As silly as an addiction to Laxatives sounds many men and women throughout the US are suffering from this strange addiction. The regular use of laxatives causes their body to become physically dependent along with their psychological urge to use these medications.

Eating Plastic

plastic sushi
Source | Plastic, Fake Food

Its a rare one but there are people who are addicted to eating plastic. They are faced with the uncontrollable urge to eat plastic products from water bottles to TV remotes. These people are physically and psychologically addicted to eating plastic, suffering from a condition known as Pica. Despite the knowing just how wrong it is they can not stop.

Each time they consume plastic the body is working on overload to break down what they can. The plastic can remain in tact and pass through the digestive tract, risking blocked bowls, antinociception and puncturing the bowl on its way through. While addicted to eating plastic each bite they take is putting their health and safety at risk.

Plastic Surgery

girl that thinks she needs plastic surgery
Source | Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery makes it possible for men and women to boost their self images by turning their imperfections into perfection. Many people rely on the knife to achieve their ideal self image and are addicted to Plastic Surgery.

You or I may look at them and say enough is enough but they keep going surgery after surgery in hopes of become what they want to be, perfect. Is this a barbie doll image? Maybe. As their skin gets tighter, breast get higher, butt gets fuller and nose makes a 180 transformation their sense of identity is changed to one the revolves around cutting and changing their physical appearance.

Urine Drinking

3 urinals and a colorful wall
Source | Urinals

I know what you are thinking, “Yuck, how can anyone drink their own urine?” It is a bit unbelievable that someone would find pleasure in doing something that makes the average person gag just in thought.

This is a legitimate medical condition known as Urophagia where people drink their own urine. There are many different reasons that people will drink their own urine, such as; various health, healing, and cosmetic purposes. Some people even consume urine as a sexual activity. Ok maybe you would do it if it came to survival right?

Many people who are addicted to drinking urine are drinking their own. This is because they enjoy the taste and they feel as if their body craves it. They are consumed by the thought of drinking their own urine and do so despite the negative effects it can have on their health.


woman in tanning bed
Source | Tanning Bed

Vitamin D is great for the body. Sitting out in the sun for brief periods of time will ensure that you body is getting the proper amounts of Vitamin D. However some people take their sun exposure to an extreme. They are not looking to increase their D levels but to tan, darken their skin while soaking up the sun.

Many men and women throughout the United State have become addicted to tanning. Without a golden color to their skin they feel ugly and naked. They may not stick to simply laying out in the sun for their tan, many will visit tanning salons on a daily basis to keep their skin a golden brown.

While their skin gets crispy brown they are putting themselves at risk of developing life threatening skin cancer. The uncontrollable urge to tan out ways the risk of cancer in their minds. Some tanning addicts have even been treated for skin cancer yet continue to lay in the sun and in tanning beds on a regular basis, they are psychologically hooked to tanning.

Ice Chewing

picture of ice in a cup
Source | Ice Cubes

It may sound strange but some people are actually addicted to chewing ice. They find themselves chewing ice all day long to fuel their addiction. They are unable to control the urge of ice chewing and are suffering from a legitimate health condition that causes this strange addiction.

People addicted to ice chewing can consume over two gallons of ice per day. While it makes the average person cringe to think of that cold on their teeth all day long those who are addicted enjoy the sensations associated with ice chewing

Many think what is the harm in ice chewing, its turns into water in time. Well ice chewing can cause serious damage to teeth, tongue, throat and stomach. Many addicts will have chips and cracks in their teeth, their voice may change, they may experience extreme gas, stomach bloating and stomach pain. Being addicted the pro’s of ice chewing outweigh any physical damaging effects it may have.

Eating Dirt

dirt monster with eyes and a nose.
Source | Dirt

Ok admit it, we’ve all made mud pies as a kid and maybe you had a slice once or twice. That gritty feeling on your teeth and roughness going down your throat is enough to make your stomach turn today. For others it sounds delicious. They are addicted to eating dirt, they crave the taste, texture and other aspects to dirt consumption and can not stop despite the dangers it can hold.

The compulsion to eat mud, dirt or clay is called Geophagy, it is an aspect to a eating disorder called Pica. Cornell University researchers believe that the dirt actually protects the stomach against parasites and other gastrointestinal distress, this is why they feel many pregnant women and young children crave eating dirt.

The irresistible craving to eat dirt may cause health problems for the individual. For one the person doesn’t know who or what has touched the dirt before them and it can be home to a number of different parasites that can enter into the body and cause irreversible damage. As the body works to break down the dirt the organs are working overload and can become distressed. The digestive tract too can see dangerous effects due to eating dirt, causing blocked bowels and irregular bowel movements.

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