In the 21st century, our lives have been enriched in many ways with technology that makes life more efficient, convenient and enjoyable. But there are downsides to our modern lifestyle and a host of modern addictions to go with it. While people are still addicted to drugs, alcohol and nicotine, there are a number of modern addictions that rarely, if ever, caused problems in the last century:
Modern Day Addictions
- Love addiction: Not to be confused with sex addiction, this condition refers to unhealthy attachment to a person or relationship, infatuations that are impossible to give up and obsessive love fantasies. Is it our increasing online activities and decreasing real-time contact with people driving this addiction?
- Exercise addiction: More than ever before we are driven to look perfect. Women in particular feel the pressure to be thin and fit. For some people this means compulsively working out in order to fit the ideal. Exercise is a healthy habit until it starts to take over your life and interferes with other activities. An exercise addiction can also coincide with eating disorders.
- Tanorexia: In line with the over-emphasis on appearance, having a healthy looking glow is also important for many people. Tanning too much can become an obsession and is dangerous for your health. Researchers have shown that the ultraviolet light you soak up when tanning not only causes skin cancer, it can truly be addictive.
- Workaholism: Working too much isn’t necessarily a modern vice, but it is more prevalent than ever before. It may be the troubled economy, the high rates of unemployment or simply changes in the modern work force, but many people become addicted to working hard and long hours. Doing so can have negative consequences such as ruined relationships and dangerously high levels of stress.
- Teeth-whitening addiction: Believe it or not, some people are obsessive about whitening their teeth. There was a time when there were no ads on television or other media sources for whitening products, and now they are everywhere. Yellowing teeth may be a natural phenomenon, but it is one of those pesky signs of aging that some people try to turn back. A few get hooked on the procedure, both at-home and in-office versions. Consequences include transparent teeth, sensitivity, pain and bleeding gums.
- Media addiction: There are many ways in which people become obsessed with using media. There are people addicted to gaming, the Internet, online porn and social media. All are the consequence of easy access to the Internet in modern times. There are individual underlying causes, of course, but quick and easy access allows these addictions to fester and grow.
- Smartphone addiction: A new coin has been termed, nomophobia, to describe the now common fear of being without your smartphone. As much as 40 percent of the population may be affected by this to varying degrees. Researchers have found that most people, even those not described as heavy phone users, become anxious when their phone is out of reach. For some, this anxiety can be extreme.
Help For Modern Behavioral Addictions
Our modern world is a place fraught with potential addictions. As if heroin, binge drinking and prescription painkillers weren’t enough to worry about, we have to watch out for tech addictions and other issues common in modern times. If any of these habits are controlling your life and impacting you in negative ways, it’s time to step back and consider if you have an addiction. If you think you do, there’s help. Professionals are keeping up with the times and are able to help people struggling with these modern behavioral addictions.
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