Here is a very present and, why not say, very controversial question in the lives of tattooed people. Is tattooing addictive? Superstitions and radicalism aside, cast the first stone, who has never been questioned about the subject or never found themselves thinking about the next tattoo a few hours after leaving the studio with a brand new scribble.
Several physiological and psychological studies help to answer this question. The medicine says that there is, yes, a possibility that tattooing can become an addiction. This is because during tattoo sessions, the body releases a large amount of endorphin. A 2009 study from the University of Bohn in Germany analyzed the brains of 10 runners before and after a two-hour run. Running, like tattoo sessions, releases a high concentration of endorphin in the body. Images of the brain region of the participants showed that areas linked to emotion and pleasure were activated thanks to the release of endorphin in their bodies. This is because endorphin is a neurotransmitter hormone - normally released during physical exercise - that improves memory, the immune system, mood, disposition, increases endurance, and relieves pain. The last benefit cited is precisely the kickoff for the so-called "pleasurable and addictive pain" that only those who are tattooed know. With each needle, a feeling of pleasure and strengthening generated by the high rate of endorphin in the blood. There is even a famous speech on the subject:
For some people, getting tattooed is a kind of healing. Getting a large tattoo takes time and suffering, and it's going to be a maturation as a human being. You will be learning to experience and overcome pain. It is as if with every needle you pierce, you become stronger and more complete.
And the reasons don't stop there. According to psychological studies, such as a research conducted at the Goettingen University of Berlin, Germany, about the motivations for tattoos, tattooed individuals are more socially noticed, and often feel more attractive and self-assured, about their image, their principles, their personality, and in some cases even their spirituality, when getting a new tattoo.
Despite these and many other studies about the relationship between tattoos and addictions, tattoo addiction is not scientifically proven, and after all, we know better than anyone that the sensations and meanings about tattoos vary a lot from person to person. I have never seen someone full of tattoos who, when asked about the possible addiction, would answer that they are already planning their next tattoo simply because they "can't stop". There are many other personal factors involved in this decision. And for those who have not only their skin, but their soul equally tattooed, I believe that tattooing is a lifestyle and not an addiction.
The truth is that in most cases, addiction or no addiction, after the first comes the desire for the second. After the second, the legend says that it is good to get a third, since even-numbered tattoos do not bring luck. And that the skin already "itches" looking for more, and it really "itches".
For my lifestyle, particularly, this is a great sign. I gladly let my skin itch as a sign that it is time to plan that new idea that will soon enter my unique and private doodle collection.
And for you, can tattooing be considered an addiction?