Have you ever recognized benign habits that you wish you could give up, but they seem pretty harmless? You're not alone. Many of us have compulsions, addictions, and unhealthy habits that can affect every aspect of our lives—and they're often overlooked due to their subtle nature. From eating too much sugar or ice cream to checking one's social media notifications several times a day, the need for instant gratification has taken its toll on society today, leading many people down an unhealthy path without even noticing it.
In this blog post, we'll be exploring the top 13 addictions and habits that everyone should be aware. If you've been looking for ways to make positive changes in your life and reduce stress, then dive into this comprehensive list!
1. Checking the News
One Redditor shared, “NEWS addiction.”
Another replied, “People get addicted to the cortisol hit from getting outraged, so a lot of news outlets realize they just need to keep the cortisol flowing. Edit: Per comments, I changed ‘dopamine' to ‘cortisol'.”
One commenter added, “It's neurologically a very similar addiction to gambling. In both cases, it's less about getting something positive and more about getting something negative and then feeling they have to cancel or counterbalance the negative with a positive… that always seems just out of reach but never seems to come. So they dig themselves a hole of negativity.”
Another user posted, “A few years ago, I realized it was taking a toll on me. The first thing I'd do when I got up was check the news, then periodically check it throughout the day, and it was frequently the last thing I did before falling asleep. So, I just decided I have to check it maybe once or twice to stay informed, but that's it. I even hid political subreddits, so I won't see them unless I actively go to them.
“There's just no reason to be glued to the news all day long. That much anger or depression or whatever is no good for your mental well-being, and it's very rare that something is going on in the world where you need hourly updates. I think most people would be a lot happier if they cut back on gorging on news and politics.”
“YES! Absolutely. Especially the doom-scrolling and sensationalized side of things. I've just written a much longer comment about this, but it creates a physical dopamine dependency and changes habits,” replied another user.
2. Justified Outrage
One user posted, “Outrage is an addiction. Some people seek it out, actively searching for a reason to hate their neighbors just so they can get their hit of dopamine. It feeds news addiction, tribalism, and eventually extremism. It's the source of so much violence, so many divided houses and ruined lives, but we do nothing to curb it.”
“I remember my uncle, who had a history of domestic violence to my aunt before she passed of cancer, told the family he has an anger problem. My dad said, ‘But you're able to keep it together every time a cop is around.' The look on his face and the dead silence… An anger issue is not an excuse,” another replied.
One commenter added, “My Dad was always going on violent outbursts, literally every day. Remember a few times their doorbell would ring, and he'd flip to being charming in a split second. It'd be salespeople, charity collectors, and even Mormons. He was always extremely polite, and they probably saw him as one of the most pleasant people he encountered. Pure sociopathy.”
“Shopping,” one user posted.
Another user replied, “I just got back this month after being in rehab for 2 months for weed, alcohol, and [other drugs], and at my therapy, they asked me if I noticed any cross addictions. I told my therapist I think I have a shopping addiction, and she told me it's a common addiction that goes unnoticed way too many times.”
One user confirmed, “My hoarder mother 1000% has a shopping addiction.”
Another Redditor said, “My MIL is a hoarder, and it is ridiculous; she has 3 storage units (one she's had for 20+ years), her home, and my husband's grandmother's garage full of her sh-t. We have tried to help clean out the garage, but MIL always has to be there when we try and has to go through every single box/bag/etc, and physically touch every single item. 9 years and the garage still has not been cleaned out.”
4. Video Games
One online user shared, “I always laughed at the idea of video game addiction. It sounded so overblown until I met a guy who honestly defined it for me. We used to chat and hang out weekly. He quit his job and now just lives at home with his mum, mooching off her to sit in his room and play games for close to 16 hours a day. After refusing to hang out long enough, I just gave up on him.”
Another user exclaimed, “FINALLY, I found someone who mentioned video games. I grew up gaming, I absolutely loved playing them throughout my entire childhood and into adulthood, but I have seen addiction to video games absolutely destroy people. Part of me is glad that I simply don't have the time to play them much anymore. Maybe an hour or two a week. But I know adults in their 30s and 40s who are still obsessed, to the point of not wanting to do anything else.”
5. Addiction to Phones
“Phone addiction—no explanation needed,” one Redditor shared.
Another user added, “My stomach drops every time I see my daily average screen time. It's hard to realize how much time you spend scrolling until you actually see the numbers.”
One commenter said, “That's why I turned screen time off. I don't need that type of negativity in my life, lmao.”
Another user added, “My phone addiction varies based on my mental health state. I've been in a depression that has apparently become a downward spiral, according to my therapist. I'm capable of doing the bare minimum to keep my kid alive, and then I live on my phone the rest of the time. I'm even on it at work. My therapist wants me to be an inpatient, but the idea of not having my phone for even the three-day minimum stay has me freaking out.”
6. Sleeping to Escape
One user shared, “When my depression is terrible, I'd say sleep. It's a free, safe way to escape but ultimately feeds the depression, becoming a destructive cycle. It doesn't sound that bad, but it's consuming. Edit: Some people are confused, so I'll clarify. It's not because of a lack of rest. It's not the sleep itself; it's the dreaming (aka escape). A different ‘reality' that feels very real and isn't this one. Maybe I'm just not explaining it right, but yeah.”
Another user replied, “Thank you for saying this! I was labeled as a typical ‘lazy teenager,' and it wasn't till I was in my final year of uni that a friend asked if I was OK and explained oversleeping as a symptom of mental health issues.
“The truth was I was so miserable I just didn't want to be conscious and experience it. Better to be asleep with a teeny tiny hope that I might feel a bit better when I woke up. I had virtually no awareness of mental health issues then and therefore had no vocabulary to articulate how I felt. I feel sad for that lost time, but at least I can recognize it now for what it was.
“Edit to add: this has, unfortunately, resonated with a few people. Keep your chin up; it can and does get better eventually. Get help from your support network of friends and family and professional help. I hope you feel better soon.”
“Well said. There are days I can sleep 4-5 hours, be productive and alert, and just kill it. Then there are days when I sleep at least 11+ hours and on my phone the other 13 while doing the BARE minimum to skate by, realizing that. Hey! You're not eating better; the 50ish pounds you lost in 3 months is from depressively not eating. I hate being depressed and all the extra stuff it brings that makes life even harder than it is,” one user responded.
One Redditor posted, “Work Addiction—most people will say they dislike working extra, but the responsibility you feel towards your co-workers and the purpose work gives your life can make you work more than you should. Source: addicted to work.”
One added, “I worked for one manager who literally had an addiction to work so bad it was ruining her life. She was a recovering drug addict, and I guess staying busy helped her cope, but she just traded one addiction for another.
“We worked for a corporate retail chain; she would be the first one there and the last one to leave every day, and she never scheduled herself a day off. She would clock herself out when she hit her 40 hrs to avoid getting flak from her management, but she was easily working 110+ hours a week, and more than half of that was unpaid.
“Her family, her ex-husband, and her kids would come by periodically and try to get her to go home, and her entire staff, including me, constantly tried to get her just to go home, but she was afraid the place couldn't run without her present for even a second. It was really sad because we could all see her obsession with being there was destroying her mentally and physically, as her sleep had to have been horrendously impacted since she was there 15-16 hours a day.
“I spoke with HR about it, and they said they had already been aware of it for some time and that they weren't going to do anything about it. That incredible amount of incredulity and not giving a shit about the super illegal and dangerous fact that they were letting an employee work for free for 70+ hours a week were obviously huge red flags for me, so that was my last day.
“A couple of years later now, she still works there, and this is still happening.”
8. Addiction to Junk Food
One user shared, “Junk food. Sugar. Soda. I am addicted to these things and wish to break that habit.”
Another confirmed, “I quit smoking quite easily, but I cannot for the life of me quit sugar. So much harder, in.”
“I think I just swapped my after-dinner cigarette for after-dinner chocolate. Doesn't matter how satisfying the meal was. I still crave some chocolate later,” one user replied.
Another user shared, “Apologies in advance for the unsolicited advice, but your comment hit a chord with me. Is it specifically chocolate you crave? 'cause I used to crave chocolate constantly. It got to the point where I'd buy the cheapest milk chocolate bars from my grocery store and eat a couple of pieces every day, trying to limit how much chocolate I was eating but also trying to stop the constant craving for it.
“Supposedly being low in magnesium can cause chocolate cravings. I figured more magnesium couldn't hurt, so I started eating more food with magnesium, and the craving went away! I still have a massive sweet tooth, and I love chocolate, but that never-ending chocolate craving has stopped, thank goodness.
“Maybe something to try if it seems relevant to you? I know this is just a very unscientific anecdote; maybe it was something else going on with me that just naturally stopped. Maybe the slight changes in my diet I made solved it in some other way. Who knows!”
9. Social Media
“Social media addiction,” one user responded.
Another user replied, “Including Reddit. Source: Reddit addict.”
“Yup. I spend way too much time on this stupid app,” one user confirmed.
One user commented, “I tell myself I'm learning new stuff every day. Then my wife asks me to tell her something new and interesting I found on Reddit, and I can't think of a single thing.”
One Redditor commented, “Skin picking, aka, dermatillomania. It's so overlooked that our society has glorified it. We have a show called Dr. Pimple Popper! Wtf!”
Another user commented, “I wish I could replace that [terrible] habit somehow.”
One user replied, “Same. I don't get the Dr. Pimple Popper thing. Mine is picking at any skin that is not smooth on my skin. On the scalp, around my nails, blemishes on my face, arms, and chest. If I have a scab, that will take forever to heal because I do it subconsciously on occasion and even do it at night when I'm asleep, no matter where it is on my ‘pick zones.' Something in my mind says if I pick it, I may reveal healed areas beneath it… and then it starts all over again once it starts bleeding. Looking at it typed out is really disturbing, tbh. But I'm proud that I stopped picking at my lips!!!”
“Tribalism. People become indoctrinated and too engrossed to realize it. People become so addicted they choose to kill over sports, vehicle types, religion(s), politics, etc… and it's by design. People act less intelligent when they're a part of a group. (Mob mentality).
“Edited because syntax/grammar police attacked my auto-fill. Proofread everything, kids,” one user shared.
One Redditor replied, “Outrage is the addiction; tribalism is just one of the many crack pipes through which it is consumed. People are seeking Outrage. Tribalism gives a sense of legitimacy to the Outrage.”
12. Nasal Spray Addiction
A user posted, “Nasal spray. There are plenty of other, much worse things I could shove up my nose, but still. I can't breathe through my nose without it, and I can't stand that it's like this.”
One user replied, “I've been there! It's pretty fast to reverse the dependency, though—you can switch to saline or Neti pot for a couple of days to get you over the hump, but I've found my nose clears up after 2-3 days without it. 2-3 VERY uncomfortable sleepless days, mind you.”
The OP responded, “I'll have to give that a shot! Thanks!!”
13. Addiction to the Gym
One of the online users shared, “Gym addiction. It's the only thing keeping me sane these days. Started because I wanted to gain muscles, now the thought of taking a prolonged rest is quite dreadful.”
Another user replied, “The rest is so true. It's so difficult to let yourself rest, even if it's just for a week. Interestingly, sometimes you end up coming out of the rest week stronger than if you'd kept lifting through it, too!”
“This is something I learned while I was a soldier. I struggled at first with my PT tests, so I worked out all the time. Eventually, someone told me that rest and recovery were basically as important as working out and that I NEEDED to let my body rest and heal. Lo and behold, I was stronger and faster after rest breaks because my body was actually recovered and I could properly use the strength and speed I had been working on building in the gym,” one Redditor commented.
Do you agree with the things listed above? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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