5 Manias and Obsessions You Might Not Know About

26 August, 2020
Are you someone that needs to be prepared for everything? Or do you take medication to prevent migraines? These kinds of obsessions and manias have a name. Read on to learn about these and other obsessions!

A mania is a capricious and sometimes extravagant concern for a certain topic. In popular culture, people associate being manic with adhering to certain rigid behavioral guidelines and being resistant to change. However, manias and obsessions are avoidable.

Generally, mania doesn’t entail any problems beyond a possible waste of time. But what happens if worries and hobbies turn into obsessions?

In colloquial terms, people consider “mania”, “obsession”, and “passion” synonyms or almost synonymous. However, this isn’t true from a psychological standpoint. Mania actually refers to an excessively euphoric and thoughtless state of mind. However, establishing a parallel between the words mania and obsession makes the subject easier to understand.

One thing is clear, you can be obsessed or passionate about almost anything you can think of. Almost everyone has “manic” moments. Thus, you can find yourself engaging in certain ritualistic behaviors.

You’ve probably heard of some of these obsessions. For example, there’s melomania (an obsession or passion for music). However, there are many others you’re probably not familiar with and don’t know the name of. Let’s take a look at some of them.

There are many manias and obsessions.

Manias and obsessions: glazomania, an obsession with lists

Glazomania is an unusual obsession, passion, or fascination with making lists. However, this tool can be a way of being more efficient or even to reduce stress levels, thanks to the fact that lists work as a form of preparation.

People with glazomania make lists about absolutely everything. For example, a list of daily tasks, places to go to, or key phrases to say at certain times.

People with this obsession find that making lists helps them feel organized. However, it’s important to distinguish between being passionate about lists and other disorders such as OCD or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

In the case of OCD, certain obsessions make a person develop compulsive behaviors to reduce anxiety. In this context, lists can actually become a strategy to stop compulsions. For example, checking off the item “Close the door” on a list would allow the person to not have to go to the door to check it again.

According to the diagnosis in the DSM-V, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder consists of concern for cleanliness, perfectionism, and efficiency. Among the diagnostic criteria that researchers have collected about this disorder is an obsession with details, rules, lists, and organization. People with this disorder perform these actions to the point of neglecting the main goal of the activity. In other words, the goal of the list itself.

Both of these disorders involved significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other significant areas of life. This characteristic is what distinguishes glazomania, an affinity for making lists, from a disorder such as those we mentioned above.

Pharmacomania or obsession with taking medications

As the name suggests, pharmacomania is an obsession with taking medications in situations where it isn’t necessary. This concept is related to pharmacophilia (as opposed to pharmacophobia), which is the inclination or predisposition to taking medication.

Among some of the disorders that may be related to it, there’s hypochondria, as well as pain disorders and fibromyalgia. This behavior consists of taking a drug “just in case” or to “avoid” any issues.

In the case of hypochondria, the fear of suffering from a disease can lead to the excessive intake of medications in order to preserve or improve a physiological function. For example, there might be a patient who takes laxative drugs daily in order to have normal intestinal movements and avoid any intestinal obstruction they greatly fear.

However, associated with hypochondria, you can also find the opposite effect, which is a strong resistance to taking medication out of fear of side effects.

Manias and obsessions related to rest: kathisomania and clinomania

In this area, there are different obsessions related to different aspects of rest, such as lying down, sitting, or sleeping. Although they all seem very similar, there are subtle differences we’re going to explore.

Kathisomania is an obsession with sitting down. It’s not just the simple joy of sitting, though. Instead, it’s an irrepressible urge to sit. In fact, this disorder can lead to someone refusing to offer their seat on a bust to older people or pregnant women, sitting on the floor while waiting in line, or sitting on a clothes rack while shopping.

However, we shouldn’t confuse this with clinomania, which is an obsession with lying down, or with hypomania, which is an obsession with sleeping. In the case of clinomania, the person’s life revolves around lying in bed.

Tanorexia: obsession with being tan

Tanorexia is the obsessive need to have a dark skin tone. Some people also consider this as an addiction or a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder. People with body dysmorphia are overly concerned about flaws, either real or imagined. In this case, it’s having fair skin. People with tanorexia associate tanned skin with beauty. In addition, they believe they’re incapable of living without sunbathing or with UV rays.

The strategies people use to get tan consist of long tanning sessions or lots of time in the sun, which can pose health risks. For example, sunbathing or tanning without proper sunscreen can damage the skin or cause health problems.

While sunlight has beneficial health effects, prolonged or unprotected exposure increases the risk of skin problems. These problems can range from sunburn to skin cancer or melanoma to premature aging.

Treatment of tanorexia depends on its origin. This can be treated as an addiction or as a body dysmorphic disorder. On the other hand, some professionals consider sunbathing to be a seasonal form of self-managing a seasonal depression.

In addition, we know that sunlight promotes the release of endorphins and generates a feeling of relaxation, well-being, and euphoria. As a result, in addition to psychological treatment, treating this disorder involves replacing excess sunbathing with other methods of raising endorphins, such as exercising, listening to music, laughing, or eating.

A tan woman standing in front of water.

Let’s reflect on manias and obsessions

These five obsessions we’ve discussed are just a small sample of the many manias that exist. In general, these aren’t serious and shouldn’t be considered more important than they are. Actually, having any of these obsessions or “being a bit manic” isn’t bad, as long as it doesn’t affect daily life or cause anxiety.

However, it’s important to prevent the peculiarities that make you unique from being unbearable manias you can’t control. The best way to do this is by being flexible of tolerant.

On the other hand, a mania shouldn’t make it difficult for someone to live with you or make you want to control the way others act. If this happens or a mania reduces your quality of life, it’s time to consult a professional.