5 Habits That Are Really Addictions
Pop tunes, salty snacks, and tanning? All addictive
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2011 4:56 PM CDT
Listening to pop music can actually be an addiction, Cracked.com reports.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Drugs, sex, alcohol—such addictions belong to other people, right? Not so, says Cracked, which lists five everyday addictions:

  • Pop music. Scientists have predicted pop hits by performing MRI scans on people listening to unreleased tunes. Future hits lit up pleasure centers in the brain; dopamine was released when melodies occurred that the brain had predicted. "Pop music is basically cranial crack."

  • Salty snacks. Salt also activates the brain's pleasure center, probably because salt keeps our nerves working and regulates blood pressure. But salt may also alter the brain's chemical composition, making it crave more. Combined with junk food, it's "about as addictive as heroin."
  • Lip balm. Your chapstick contains phenol, which is used as an embalming agent and can cause instantaneous death if injected. It also dries out your lips in the long run, causing you to lick them and need more lip balm.
  • Tanning. Your brain releases beta-endorphins to numb the pain and stress, creating a pleasurable sensation not unlike morphine.
  • Ice chewing. Addictive ice-munching is a subset of a disorder called pica, which causes people to eat things bereft of positive nutrients. It often indicates iron deficiency.
To find out why scientists consider addiction a brain disorder, and not just a behavioral problem, click here.