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Tattoo Addiction; Real or Constructed?

Tattoo Addiction; Real or Constructed?
July 20
07:00 2018

Tattoo Addiction; Like Most Arts and Hobbies, it is Exciting:

Tattoo addiction, to a lot of people, it seems to be a fact of modern day tattooing. Most tattooed people have been there, even they themselves say it, or some stranger will say it to them: “Tattoos are addictive you know”. It does indeed seem at times that tattoos are like potato chips and you can’t have just one. But who can blame you, tattoos are awesome.

But back to the point at hand. Is tattoo addiction real? That is what we would like to discuss today. More and more people are getting inked and it seems to be on many people’s lips, and even a concern to some people. That once they start, will they be able to control themselves? Yet it seem clear, that some people out there, are very meticulous and very clear about, just how many tattoos they want and where.

There is also the societal effect of the lingering stigma, which could be said to play a role. Some people are too scared of what others might think, should there tattoos become too numerous and/or visible. Again, this is only a concern or some, but it might still stave off some people.

Collectors:

When it comes to tattoo collectors, there are no shortage of them on social media. Indeed there are no shortage of collectors that at some point (now and then), broach the topic of tattoo addiction. Especially in cases where the collector is heavily covered in tattoos.

There are even collectors such as the world famous Yallzee, who claim firmly, to be addicted to tattoos. Indeed it would be difficult to argue against the man’s point there. Though he is very meticulous and thoughtful with how he views his body and his tattoo collection, it would seem. He is even going so far, as to covering up old pieces with new tattoos, because his body is all covered already.

But there are indeed many collectors, who might be suggesting it in more of a jesting fashion, when they talk about tattoo collection. As many collectors have quite clear plans of how much of their body they want covered. However, within these areas there might be no plan as to how much ink they want.

What Does Social Science Say:

It is time to consider what science might tell us about this phenomenon. At least from the point of natural science, there are non of the symptoms experienced with other known forms of addictions (at least not the physiological signs). Such as withdrawal symptoms.

However, when it comes to the social sciences, the debate gets a lot less one sided. But there seems to be a consensus to agree with the natural sciences. However, it is not without some added variables. The addiction may not be a “traditional one”. But one can be addicted to the sensation a new tattoo provides in some cases. Just in the same way as one can be addicted to shopping.

Another point is made by a psychologist called Kirby Farrell, he even suggests, that though the addiction may be a social/personal construct. The idea of being addicted, may also become a great tool or an excuse, to overcome any doubts there might be, about getting a new tattoo. There is no harm in it in that way, it merely helps the individual decide. But as said, one can also become addicted to the confidence boost, the added attention a new tattoo brings to the wearer, might get them.

Final Comment:

Tattoo addiction, in the end it is definitely not your traditional form of addiction. You won’t get ill or show any physical symptoms if you got without getting tattooed for a while. However, the way you may feel psychologically, can be along the lines of addiction. But in the end, it doesn’t seem to be anything your average tattoo wearer should fear. Even if you get addicted, it seems to happen mainly to people that are in the very heavily tattooed category.
So don’t you worry and enjoy your tattoos.

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About Author

Mads

Mads

Mads W. K. Masters of science in Sociology (Cand. Scient. Soc.), from the University of Copenhagen, who specializes in embodiment sociology, but especially in tattoos and tattoo culture etc.

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