6 Things You Didn't Know You Could Get Addicted To

Soy shakes, golden retrievers, squat thrusts. These aren't the makings of a week-long bender in Vegas, unless you happen to be Marquis de Sade. However, the human brain is a mysterious lump of meat, and under rare circumstances the mind can become hooked on all sorts of things that are usually completely innocent or even commendable.

Such as ...

#6. Books

Doesn't sound so bad ...
Many of us own collections that we're too ashamed to discuss in public, whether it's vintage porn, yarn or commemorative Burger King glasses. So when you hear there's such a thing as book addiction, you figure, hell, it'd be rad to be addicted to the Western literary canon. You'd be so quick with quips and quotes at dinner parties you could wear a damned monocle and nobody would dare call you on it.

The horrifying reality:
The most prominent modern bibiliomaniac was Stephen Carrie Blumberg. From 1974 to 1990, this bookish chap raided the archives of about 185 North American universities. When the FBI finally raided his Ottumwa, Iowa home, the feds discovered 28,000 stolen books and manuscripts he had been compulsively hoarding.

Bibliomaniacs like him don't necessarily read their books or even collect valuable ones. They just collect them out of a compulsive need to have a fuckload of books. So you could be a bibliomaniac while remaining completely illiterate, though you could build a kick-ass fort.

By the way, after Blumberg spent 4.5 years in prison for stealing all those books, he was rearrested in July 2003 for stealing, um, doorknobs. Figure that one out.

Warning Signs:
Technology has obviously made books unnecessary, so the sight of even one book in a friend's home should be cause for concern. If the person has gone as far as to purchase an entire special shelf to hold all of his books, it's probably time for an intervention.

#5. Pets

Doesn't sound so bad ...
We know what you're thinking: If one puppy is adorable, think how much more adorable a dozen of them would be! Furthermore, chicks dig animal lovers and dudes love the movie Beastmaster, so where's the problem? Every day we come home will be like that scene in Ace Ventura!

The horrifying reality:
In one infamous 2005 case, animal control officers retrieved more than 300 sewage-scented pups from Barbara and Robert Woodley's Sanford, North Carolina home. The house's stench was so damn doggy that it brought the rescuing veterinarians to tears ... literally. Animal hoarding is often the result of crippling obsessive-compulsive disorder. The hoarder believes that he alone understands his pets, who apparently wish to live cramped and knee-deep in their own shit.

On a similar note, The New York Times recently posited that "crazy cat lady" syndrome stems from an infection by the Toxoplasma gondii parasite. According to this model, feline stool transmits the bug, which gives the infected owner an unhealthy case of cat-scratch fever. Before you laugh, know that 60 million Americans may be infected with toxoplasma and that some experts think it will turn all of us into zombies.

Warning Signs:
We're going to go out on a limb here, but we're thinking the presence of lots and lots of animals in a guy's living room may be an indication. Further, if you catch someone extolling the virtues of Eddie Murphy's 1998 opus Doctor Dolittle, that individual is either a potential animal hoarder or eight-years-old. On the other hand, if you catch someone extolling the virtues of Marc Singer's 1982 opus The Beastmaster, buy that man a drink!

He has a Master's degree ... in beasts

#4. Eating Right

Doesn't sound so bad ...
Hey reader, what'd you eat today? What's that? A sausage stromboli, some Skittles and a teacup full of Maker's Mark? And it's not even noon? For shame, you're not getting enough fiber to absorb that bourbon.

Wait, what did we eat? The internet writer's special, natch: a tub of Crisco and a tin of Skoal. So if they say there's such a thing as getting addicted to healthy food (or orthorexia) then we should all be so lucky. Right?

The horrifying reality:
You can die from it.

See, the orthorexia nervosa sufferer's fanatical desire to consume the correct foods comes with the problem that their idea of what "correct" means is entirely subjective and often nutritionally unsound. Eating 10 cans of pinto beans a day sounds healthier than eating ten Big Macs, but both diets leave out important nutrients and will reward you with DEFCON 5 flatulence. And at the end of the day, your body just needs fat. A diet with zero fat can kill you just as effectively as too much, though most of us are a very long way away from experiencing that for ourselves.

Warning Signs:
The doctor who discovered this disorder says "social isolation" resulting from the diet is one warning sign. So take Mr. Pinto Bean from our above example. Chances are he's disgusted with other people's "impure," non-bean diets, so he posts a personal on Craigslist entitled "LOOKING 4 GOYA-MINDED WOMAN."

And since no one shares the rectitude required to eat beans 24/7, Mr. Bean spends the rest of his life alone, weeping as he farts, farting as he weeps.

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