“It’s Scary”: Online Thread Warns People Of Addictions They Might Not Realize They Already Have

We’ve all been warned about the dangers of becoming addicted to nicotine, drugs and alcohol. But just because something doesn’t come with a warning on the label doesn’t mean it can’t be just as addictive. 

Reddit users have recently been discussing some of the most common behaviors that can turn into sneaky addictions people don’t even realize they have, so we’ve gathered their most insightful responses below. Keep reading to also find a conversation with Dr. Kimberly S. Benson LMHC, CAP, of Sarasota Addiction Specialists, and be sure to upvote the responses that some people really need to hear.


Food. People often eat far more often than necessary. They eat out of habit and not out of necessity.

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Misery. Drama. The spikes become normal to the brain so those in toxic relationships for example, crave those dysfunctional patterns .they crave the rush of the fights and the drama . They pull it from around them without even noticing it .

Misery loves company is not just a saying. It’s science

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To gain more insight on addictions and how they can sneak up on us, we got in touch with Dr. Kimberly S. Benson LMHC, CAP, from Sarasota Addiction Specialists. Dr. Benson says that "there are many kinds of behaviors that could qualify as an addiction, however, behaviors do not always indicate addiction because addiction manifests itself differently in everyone."

"Some of the most common behaviors are: the inability to stop and stay stopped; they continue to use with negative internal and or external consequences; they are psychologically preoccupied with substance use; changes in behavior, doing things that are out of character; increasing the use of a substance; [and] experiencing withdrawal symptoms which can manifest physically and or psychologically," the expert explained.


Phone addiction.


This. I didn’t want to admit it until I would be agitated when I didn’t have it, until my daily average of screen use exceeded 12 HOURS every single day, and even worse, I would toss and turn at night because I constantly checked my phone.

It sucks because we need phones to keep up with this world now, yet it’s slowly killing us in subtle ways.

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Yup. It's scary how many people will pour 8+ hours into a game each day. They cut their sleep down to 2-6 hours just to do it, too. It's generally why I play solo on Rust, as many of my teammates want people that are on for huge amounts of hours, even if the server is more PvE oriented.

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"The baffling thing about addiction is the only person who truly knows they have a problem is the person with the problem," Dr. Benson continued. "Looks can be deceiving, and behavior doesn't always equal addiction but it is certainly a red flag so to speak."

"Addiction is happening internally within an individual, and that cannot be seen by the naked eye," she explained. "The definition I like most when defining addition is 'an outward reach for inner security.' This is the internal process that only can be known by the individual locked into the process. This process is encapsulated by psychological isolation and further wrapped up with denial."


Shopping is a big one.


I work with delivering packages to consumers and you have no idea how much some people order. I can have H&M deliveries every day to the same person, which is a pretty obvious shopping addiction. You learn so much about consumerism working in this field.

It makes me understand why people live minimally and subscribe to the anti-consumerism lifestyle.

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Stress. I'm convinced some people create stress in their life bc they are addicted to it.

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Dr. Benson shared that she likes to refer to the "4 Musketeers" of addiction: rationalize, justify, minimize and manipulate. "An individual suffering from the psychological addictive process has developed a part inside their mind that is operating under those 4 psychological characteristics, keeping them trapped in the addictive cycle," she told Bored Panda. 

"These character traits are often, not always, the result of emotional developmental disruptions that occurred in the formative years of life. These character traits developed as a way to cope and deal with the pain experienced in one's reality," Dr. Benson explained. "The only thing that has proven to break the denial of the addicted person is a 'certain' level of pain that is unique to every individual suffering from and addictive process."


Social media.


I scrolled way too far down to see this. Too many people are in active denial, and try to say things like "_________ is way worse than ______ because _____________________".....without realizing the same complaints can be made about them all. Tik Tok is the biggest example to me right now, getting all the attention when Facebook is the bigger problem platform. But of course it isn't.....because that's what the people complaining about tik tok use ?‍♀️

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Content! - movies, tv shows, books, social media

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Dr. Benson also noted that any behavior can turn into an addictive process. "As I like to say, if Oreo cookies are addicting then so is pot and so is anything else."

She says some of the sneakier addictions that are becoming more common today are social media, online shopping, gaming, pornography.


Addiction to other people's lives. We’re constantly flooded with media on people we don’t even know/never met. Yet, we invest so much time interacting with them and having a false sense of reality, seeing only what they show. Humans are so much more complex than the image that's presented to us online. We should look around our own reality before trying to make sense of a stranger.

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Sugar addiction.

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But the good news is that Dr. Benson believes any addiction can be broken. "Addiction is a disorder of the mind, body and spirit. Treatment requires addressing both," she told Bored Panda. "Addiction is not a choice or a moral dilemma, and history has shown that treating it as though it is a choice or moral dilemma does not work."



It's so much easier to say "f**k it, I'll do it tomorrow". And then tomorrow comes and you still don't do it. Such a terrible habit.

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As someone who grew up with parents who constantly gaslit, dismissed and invalidated them, I am always looking for validation and I hate it. I have an insatiable need to know I’m not crazy for having the thoughts and ideas that I do, because I was always told things like “other people have it worse” and “quit feeling sorry for yourself.”

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"What we do not know is why some people experience certain levels of pain and are able to break the denial and get help, while others suffer their entire lives and sometimes die as a result of their addiction," Dr. Benson added. "So can any addiction be broken? Yes, however it is dependent upon the individual suffering from the addiction and the depths of denial and psychological issues they may suffer from that could impact their ability to recover."



Many people are alcoholics and won't realize. Just because you don't get drunk every day doesn't mean you're not an alcoholic.

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Attention. I know far too many people who have "main character" syndrome. I was at a restaurant and this group came in and sat in the booth behind me, it was 50/50 male to female ratio, but the conversation was basically a huge pissing contest. It was barely a conversation, it was someone starting a conversation about themselves and someone ending the conversation by starting a new conversation about themselves and I wasn't eaves dropping but they got progressively louder and when all the attention in the restaurant was about Chloe who just got 150 likes on Instagram in 2 hours it was like jeez Louise. People don't understand that the craving to be in the spot light constantly is a deep rooted problem.

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Addiction to a person or a toxic relationship.

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The guy who created infinite scroll where you never reach the bottom of your tl really regrets making it. It works very similar to playing a slot machine or roulette, your brain releases dopamine and over time it really gets in the way of your natural reward pathways. Ever wonder why you feel both overstimulated and exhausted on days when your screen time is higher? That’s why.

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Instant gratification.

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From working in disability care the most common addiction i have seen that people don’t realise exists is the addiction to trauma, people believe talking about their traumatic experiences will help it’s true… but when it becomes all you talk about it doesn’t help it makes it worse because your constantly thinking about it and that makes you limit what you can do as a result. I’ve also noticed when you change the subject of conversation they forget and as a result do things they believe they can’t do when they are talking about their trauma all day every day.

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Workout addiction.


This sh** is so real and a whole generation of kids is getting body dysmorphia cause they see guys who are on gear talking about being natty and then these kids are like shitting on themselves cause they can never keep up its the same type of things that happen to girls when people have bbls and stuff its a sad thing people have to go thru and social media makes it way worse.

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Complaining. Guilty your honor. Lock me up. I dabbled in it once or twice and before I knew what happened, I found myself as an adult, with a career, responsibilities, and all sorts of adulting happening around me. Ever since I’ve been roiled in addiction. I can’t stop. A life sentence seems warranted. I’m not even sorry.

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Self medicating.

For me it was alcohol. Then when I had to stop it was tobacco. Then when I stopped that it was eating. I don't think I was addicted to one of those in particular but with declining mental health I needed something/anything to make me numb. I abused alcohol but I never necessarily needed alcohol, but I always needed something. That something is what I would say I needed. Abusing alcohol, tobacco and Little Debbie's was always the symptom of the underlying illness.

Either way I slice the comfort cake they all still, and equally, would lead to a downward spiral that can snowball anybody's life out of control.

Long story short: self medicating.

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Anger. I think addiction to anger is the primary force being weaponized against our entire culture right now.

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Comfort. So many of us are addicted to be in a comfortable place rather than growing and getting out of our comfort zone.

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Destination addiction is used to describe the belief that happiness is in the destination or can be found somewhere else rather than in the present. In fact, our destination addiction often begins earlier in life than we realize.



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Fast food.

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Daydreaming! I do it constantly and can’t stop. It literally takes up hours out of my day.

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Caffeine and sugar are two big ones. Mostly caffeine though. Millions of people in the US depend on coffee throughout their day.

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Being "right". People get a huge rush from shouting down someone for being wrong. They never seem to realize that even if you really are right, seeking out that feeling of "self-righteousness" is not a good thing.

It took me years to stop seeking that out and I still do it sometimes. I'm often reminded of the old XKCD comic, "I can't sleep - someone on the internet is wrong."


Hitting the snooze button too many times.

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It's wild how many people drink soda like it is water. I work at a restaraunt and ppl be drinking soda every day throughout their shift. It tastes nice but the amount of sugar in soda is absolutely absurd, just not worth it imo so I rarely drink it. If I'm gonna consume that much sugar I'll get some sweets instead.

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Giving unsolicited advice.

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Being addicted to hospitalization

It gives you attention by friends and family - you are suddenly the center of the world

Then you get better — and people return to normal and expect you to carry on as you were prior, and you realize how lonely you are.

So you do the extreme thing to get that thrill of attention, you harm yourself, you overdose, you make empty threat.

You don’t care about the bill or the resources spent on you.

You have the attention of those willing to give it.

It only gets worse when you start to feel like you’re not being treated like royalty and you start looking at “better” hospitals that don’t ask questions and give you whatever you want

I work at a hospital and have seen over 87 repeat patients…I’ve only worked here for 2 years


Skin picking; squeezing, popping, gouging around for ingrowns - it’s a legitimate addiction and mental health issue.


Benadryl- I’ve always had really bad insomnia where I can go without sleep for 2-3 days. I realized a few years ago Benadryl knocks me out so I started taking it every single night and sometimes during the day when I’m bored. I know I am taking too much too often, I kept increasing the dose since I started and I used to take so much that I couldn’t even finish a thought or I’d zone out mid conversation. Once I accidentally took over 20 in one night because I kept forgetting I had already taken it. Every time I try to stop I won’t be able to sleep for days and I genuinely get withdrawal symptoms. I looked into it and turns out it’s not that uncommon to get addicted to and sometimes people actually go to rehab for it.





The very feeling of having that strange throbbing of depression move through your body can, in a way, feel like a massage. And you can really indulge that. Paired with all the thoughts that can get framed in a sort of artistically tragic way, you can really just fall into this habit of living in your own imagined tragedy, which while tragic is also beautiful in an almost cinematic way.

Indulged this way throughout most of my 20s, part of my 30s. Takes a while to realize how harmful yet addictive it is. Especially if you're otherwise isolated or prone to being on your own. Instead of having healthy relationships in real life, you can morph the ones in your mind into these hugely dramatic, doomed and unhealthy ones. And because it can feel so poetic and grand, it can feel more affecting than real life, and so you spend more time there than in the real world. Well, for some of us anyway.


Green, you can say you smoke medicinally, but if anyone can’t remember the last time they’ve seen you sober, either you’ve got a bigger problem than you think you’re treating, or you’re hiding from something you desperately need to face.



When they start justifying their actions because of religion.



It’s so easy to tell yourself that they are fine and safe because a doctor prescribed them.

But no, no they are not.


Chapstick. Going on 35 years of panicking if I don't have one in my pocket. Put it on constantly.

Got addicted in middle school - I'm mid-40sM. It's embarrassing.


I think some people don’t realize they have an addiction to an image , whether it be on social media or in real life.


Lusting. This is an addiction too. Especially over the internet.