Entries in My Strange Addiction (1)


Bizarre Behaviors: Reality Series Looks at Weird Fixations

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Climb in to bed, turn off the lights and snuggle up with your warm, soothing...blow dryer? Since Lori Broady was 8-years-old that's exactly what she has done.

"It's an addiction," the now 31-year old said. "It's not embarrassing for me because it's my life."

Broady is just one of many revealing their bizarre and sometimes crippling obsessions on TLC's reality TV series, My Strange Addiction: Still Addicted?, which premieres June 12 at 9 p.m. ET.

Weekly episodes feature some of humanity's lesser-known fixations, such as out-of-control tanning, compulsive scab picking and a seemingly endless line of bizarre eating behaviors -- from hair, toilet paper, and bras to glass and kitchen cleanser.

"Davecat," 37, gets his moment in an episode where he explains his 10-year relationship with a mannequin named Sidore.

Once featured on the show, the characters are put in touch with expert doctors waiting in the wings to help those who want to end their destructive habits.

"You see therapists who treat that person with compassion in a way that no other health professional person has been able to get through to that person," said Michael Dow, a psychotherapist, author and addiction expert. "Then I think people say, 'Oh wow, this is actually doing something very good.'"

Dow, who earned his psychology doctorate from Southern California University for Professional Studies, says once his patient's obsessions or rituals begin causing distress it then qualifies as an addiction.

For Broady, her hair dryer mania fit that definition of addiction, and she eventually recognized that it was having a serious negative impact on her life.

"Honestly, typically if a blow dryer broke in the middle of the night, I would wake up in the middle of the night and go to the store and buy one," she said. "Yeah, it was that bad… it was serious to me."

And when faced with one of those nights without the blow dryer, like nights when she slept over at a friend's house, her anxiety only grew worse.

"I would literally have withdrawals if I didn't use it," she said. "I would rock myself, I would shake, I would have to bundle myself up, wrap myself up. I would have to do a lot of different things to cope with not having it."

After her profile episode aired on My Strange Addiction, Broady was introduced to a therapist to get to the root cause of her problem. She said she realized growing up in a home with 10 children accented her need for a warm and quiet place. She found it in the white noise and heat of her blow dryer.

Now, she says she's done running the dryer in bed.

"I really am," she said. "I've been blow dyer free now for eight months. It was really hard, not an easy process but I was really determined to do it."

Broady has switched to a heater near her bed for that comforting hum and blast of warmth. And she says she is thankful the show allowed her to shed light on addictions she believes many others suffer from but might be too ashamed to acknowledge.

"I really raised a lot of awareness to this," Broady said. "People out there that might not get it might think we're just a bunch of weirdos. To blow dryer users out there: we're like everyone else, we just have a strange addiction."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio