A recent article on MSN Health & Fitness reveals America’s most unusual addictions – and recommended treatments.
- Reading addiction – Surprisingly, an inner- ear disorder can lead to this addiction. One recommended treatment – anti-motion-sickness antihistamines (to re-stabilize the inner ear).
- Tanning addiction – “Tanorexia” is an unhealthy dependence on tanning, with withdrawal symptoms similar to those of alcohol and drug addictions. Researcher Carolyn Heckman, Ph.D., of the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Pennsylvania, says that tanning dependence is known as “tanorexia” because of its similarities to both substance addictions and body image disorders, such as anorexia. Possible treatments include cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapy.
- Nasal spray addiction – After getting tested for allergies – which may require a completely different treatment – and seeing an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist to rule out structural problems of the nose and sinuses, if quitting nasal spray cold turkey doesn’t work, one doctor suggests a prescription nasal corticosteroid spray, which reduces nasal congestion and helps ease the symptoms of quitting.
- Music addiction – New York-based psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert suggests treatment for this addiction consists of identifying the gain or the purpose it serves, then integrating alternate behaviors.
- Popsicle addiction – Pagophagia is an obsessive need to chew on ice and can be a sign of low iron in the blood. If it’s anemia, then an iron supplement should correct the problem. But people with pagophagia should also have their thyroids checked because it could be a sign of an overactive thyroid.
- Compulsive shopping – More than 20 million Americans are affected by an uncontrollable urge to purchase items they don’t use or even take out of the shopping bag. Since this disorder is often associated with clinical depression, researchers are studying antidepressant medications as a possible treatment.
- Teeth whitening addiction – One possible treatment is a very supportive relationship, but dental ceramist Laura Kelly suggests people look at untouched photos of real teeth to see how unnaturally white theirs are.
- “Crackberry” addiction – People with this addiction can experience “phantom” rings or vibrations and constantly check emails. Treatment involves purposefully interrupting your pattern. For example, an addict who instantly checks email upon waking should try to wait until after breakfast or until he or she gets to work.
- Cosmetic surgery addiction – This addiction can be the result of Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is an unhealthy preoccupation with physical appearance or a specific body part. Cognitive behavior therapy can help and antidepressants are another possible treatment.