Substance abuse and drug addiction have been around for a long time, in fact, alcohol addiction dates back to almost the earliest of civilizations. But there are many rare addictions, some of it so bizarre that it may be difficult to realize it before it’s too late.
Here we have listed the rare addictions from around the world:
1. Drinking Blood
If you are a Dracula aficionado or a Twilight enthusiast, you are in for some fascinating news.
There are people in this world who are addicted to and take pleasure in drinking blood, otherwise called Sanguinarians.
Derived from Gothic and Sadomasochistic subcultures, Sanguinarians are those who base their lifestyle on the concept of vampires.
Technically, drinking blood can turn out to be disastrous if not in very small quantities, say a few teaspoons. Ingesting large quantities of blood would cause an abnormal rise in body iron levels, as blood is rich in iron.
Since the human body faces challenges excreting iron, this results in a condition called Hemochromatosis (excess of iron).
It can be classified as a mental disorder than addiction, as it is the effect of some kind of trauma the person would’ve suffered in the past, in most cases.
In a blood-chilling (pun intended) case report published by doctors in Turkey in 2013, they encountered a man who was arrested for stabbing and biting people to drink their blood.
The doctors discovered many traumatic incidents leading up to the man’s obsession with blood-drinking.
He witnessed his uncle’s brutal murder; he saw the gruesome manslaughter in which his friend cut off a man’s head and penis; his 4-month old daughter died of illness.
In a separate incident, a 29-year-old woman got addicted to drinking blood straight from another person, someone whom she shared a deep nexus with.
She revealed that she used to cut herself when she was a teenager and started to drink her blood when she got curious.
2. Drinking Urine
Yes, you read that right.
People from around the world believe that drinking urine is good for health and has health benefits right from curing cancer to acne.
There are a couple of Facebook groups which have five thousand users approx., for people who drink urine.
They believe that drinking their bodily fluids opens the doors to their souls and heals their bodies of any disease.
Urophagia or Urotherapy dates back to many centuries and was a common medication in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine.
There is a China Urine Therapy Association, based in mainland China consisting of almost 1,000 members.
They claim that they are a non-profit non-governmental organization recognized by the Hong Kong SAR Government.
They say that one must omit the beginning and the end of one’s pee because it may not be pure and the middle portion is the purest form and healthiest.
They make it a point to not miss their first urination of the day.
Their justification for drinking urine is that it is a metabolic byproduct of blood circulation, hence it cannot be considered excreta.
Nevertheless, doctors agree that drinking urine may very well be harmful to our bodies.
Even though it contains 95% water, the other 5% is what is important, which consists of urea, enzymes, hormones, and minerals which were discarded from our body.
But since urine can attract bacteria it can give us unwanted infections when taken in.
Coprophagia (consuming faeces) and emetophobia (consuming vomit) are other similar addictions.
3. Drinking Air Freshener
Sprayable air fresheners primarily consist of petroleum distillates and aromatic solvents, which when consumed orally can irritate the tissues of your body and may even be the cause for brain damage and cancer, sometimes even death.
Clearly, this was not the case for 27-year-old Evelyn, mother of two from Missouri.
She said in an interview that she couldn’t go a single day without spraying air freshener into her mouth.
She even has a preference, because any other flavor other than Fresh Linen was simply not good enough.
Her Fiance admitted to feeling disgusted because of this addiction but admitted that even he did it sometimes to keep her happy.
Working at a furniture store made it easier for her as she had access to bottles all the time.
Sometimes she would even spray air freshener into a cup of crushed ice so that she could drink it at work.
When they went to see a doctor about this unusual habit, the doctor broke down into tears looking at what Evelyn was doing to herself.
He told the family that continuing to spray air freshener into her mouth can prove to be fatal.
Evelyn has vowed to stop the habit before it becomes too late.
4. Addiction to Fire
Pyromania, the addiction to fire may very well be one of the most dangerous addictions a person might have.
Such people, called Pyromaniacs, have a compulsive urge to set things on fire.
It can be better classified as an Impulse Control Disorder.
Like any other disorder, even Pyromania has its causes dating back to the affected person’s past or childhood.
Though the exact cause hasn’t been determined, studies show that people who grow up to have any kind of Impulse Control Disorders or behavioural addictions would have probably grown up in a conflicting household, where the child may have been subject to lack of attention and supervision.
Pyromaniacs are not people who look to harm others or others’ property.
They are people who gain a sense of satisfaction and relief by setting things on fire.
One can observe that such people may be restless and holding a lot of tension in them, but after they set fire to something or witness one they let go of all their stress and feel relieved.
While there is a grey area between arson and pyromania, the causes for their actions are entirely different.
Arsonists would be driven by motives like crime concealment, extremism, excitement, profit, revenge, and vandalism whereas pyromaniacs are just abnormally obsessed with fire.
5. Pulling Hair
Another Impulse Control Disorder, Trichotillomania is the addiction to keep pulling one’s hair out.
As weird and unnecessary this may sound, it is a serious behavioural addiction that has to be treated with care.
You cannot go and say things like “Why don’t you just stop?” to that person.
They’ve probably thought of that question thousands of times, and you may only worsen it by pointing it and make the person feel uncomfortable and insecure.
Trichotillomaniacs experience growing anxiety until they pull out a chunk of their hair after which they feel relieved.
While most cases involve only hair-pulling from scalps, some pull out hair from their eyebrows, eyelashes, genital area, beard, moustache, or just any other part of the body where there is hair growth.
Some of the causes can include biochemical irregularities in the brain similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), or changes in hormone levels during puberty.
Trichotillomania is customarily treated employing a kind of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) called habit reversal training, which involves helping the person replace the action of pulling hair with something else, like squeezing a stress ball.
6. Addiction to Pain
Have you ever met someone who has a history of getting into bad relationships, and continues to seek similar relationships?
People like this are addicted to emotional pain. They seek pain.
They make decisions that lead to pain.
Bad relationships are the best indicator of a person suffering from pain addiction, as love and pain are commonly intertwined in our brain.
Physically, one cannot be addicted to pain as such, it is the addiction to Endorphins, a hormone that our body releases when it encounters pain or injury.
Endorphins produce the numbing effect that immediately succeeds any injury suffered by the body, which follows for emotional pain too.
This numbing sensation can become addicting if a person is exposed to a long duration of pain.
A traumatic incident in the past which caused the person a lot of pain or a rough childhood can lead to someone getting addicted to pain.
In extreme cases, it can even translate into self-harm.
7. Feeder Addiction
Not to confuse with breast-feeding addiction, feeders are people who are addicted to feeding food to someone, usually their significant other.
A feeder-feedee relationship is one between a person who loves feeding someone, and the person who eats the food, who is called the feeder.
Feeders are similar to Fat-fetishists, the difference being feeders are involved in the process of fattening someone whereas fat-fetishists are only interested in the end result and the similarity being both are sexually attracted to obese people.
What makes this addiction hard to get out from is the fact that it involves two people who are both in no state to stop whatever they’re doing.
There have been cases where the eater had to be separated from their feeder partner by their families, and even the police in a few.
Any unusual behaviour observed in friends or family should be looked into and guidance must be sought, if necessary.
You never know what might grow into an addiction.
There are drug and alcohol treatment centers around you which will help you or your loved ones in your recovery process.