Tattoos are seen as social branding, irrespective of whether you are for the motion or not. They are the artistic expessions that are supposed to be not only an accurate description of a person in a social construct, but also seen as a representation of their character. They serve as conversation starters and are seen almost always from a point of prejudice. This leaves the question as to why more and more people are getting tattooed each day, and why most people who are tattooed have a hard time stopping at just one?
70% of all people with tattoos have more than one and above 20% have more than five tattoos. So it’s fair to say people are hooked on to the idea, but are they really addicted? Technically, addiction is the inability to abstain from a certain act. It’s all about not being able to hold back, thus causing issues in other areas of life and dependency on that particular act. Considering the price of getting a tattoo and from person to person the pain, this would be a hard addiction to handle, right?
While getting a tattoo, lots of things are happening all at once. Not only are endorphins and adrenaline released into the body, but that is coupled with a psychological commitment to the art. This chemical combination is the same natural high that people receive from exercise or sex. Now, unless the pain is what people find addictive, the chemical combination is not enough for an all-out addiction.
Another reason as to why some people get or don’t get tattoos are self-image. While each human body is different, they are also all the same. A tattoo changes that, and the more tattoos a person has, the more different they feel from the next. However, this is only true for some people. It is most likely that these are the ones with the least self-confidence. In this case, they could build a dependency on the tattoos to be noticed more than for their personality.
However, according to Dr. Vivek Swami, “it is misleading to talk about tattoos in terms of addiction and dependency. I think that the short answer is that we don’t know. We don’t know whether it’s a real thing or not. And most people who study it suggest that it’s too early in terms of the research where tattoos specifically are a form of addiction.” While asking people why they get tattoos, addiction is one of the lowest rated.
So while it may feel great to get a tattoo, and while you are likely to want many more, it’s probably more a form of self-expression, rather than addiction. And while you may be pegged as attention seeking or rebellious, there is a lot more psychology to getting a new piece than just that.