Are These Fifteen Behaviors Addictions or Compulsions?

Are These Fifteen Behaviors Addictions or Compulsions?

By Chris Bisogni 04/08/14

The word "addiction" gets thrown around a lot these days—anything from sex to eating dirt—but what's the difference between an actual addiction and a compulsive behavior?

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Shopping

Known as oniomania it is either a well-worn excuse or a genuine disorder. It affects between two to eight percent of Americans with more women afflicted than men. Studies have shown that low levels of serotonin, which is often linked to depression, are the major factors in its onset. If the demand for shopping is outweighed by the supply (money available), then this could well be determined as an addiction. However with proper counseling and other treatment, there is plenty of evidence that it can be curtailed. Verdict: Compulsive behavior

Celebrity

This is more common today than it was 40 years ago due to the increased coverage of celebrity in the media. There are some instances of borderline-pathological obsessions, which come in the form celebrity worship, and include copying facets of the celebrity’s life and appearance and emotional attachment. The most serious cases include criminal activity such as trespassing or stalking. However there is no evidence to suggest you can genuinely become addicted to a person or their lifestyle. Verdict: Compulsive behavior

Chris Bisogni is an Australian journalist based in San Francisco.