Entries in Obsessions (3)


UAB Psychologist Warns Fans of 'Football Addiction'

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(BIRMINGHAM, Ala.) -- A psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham says there is a fine line between a dedicated fan and a football addict when it comes to following one of America's most popular sports.

With the football season in full swing, researchers at the UAB School of Public Health say fans need to be careful of crossing the fine line between fandom and obsession. In a university news release, Dr. Josh Klapow warns that football obsession can threaten people's relationships and quality of life.

"It's not how much time you spend watching football that matters, it's whether or not that is causing negative behaviors in your life. Whether it's 10 hours per week or 40, the issue is its effect on your real-life obligations," said Klapow.

Klapow outlined several indicators that can help fans identify a potential problem. According to Klapow, behaviors such as thinking about football while doing other things, becoming irritated when a game is interrupted, missing important family or other events to watch a game, and becoming depressed, angry or violent when a certain team loses are all signs that someone has become addicted.

Klapow encourages fans to keep a weekly log of time spent watching or following sports to monitor whether or not one is becoming addicted to that sport.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Concludes Smartphones are Habit-Forming

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(HELSINKI) -- New research finds that smartphones generate obsessive behavior patterns, according to HealthDay.

The study looked at smartphone users in the United States and Finland, and found that people tend to check for messages and news regularly -- not randomly -- throughout the day. The study did not describe users as pathologically obsessive, although boredom and irritation can trigger the frequent "checks."

The study concluded that smartphones are habit-forming.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


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