Mad Habits Are Hard To Break

Rhinotillexomaniac, phaneromaniac, planomaniac, oh my!

Mania is defined as "excessive excitement or enthusiasm," but it can also be considered a psychiatric disorder. While it’s admittedly tricky for some to find a balance between an obsessive, unhealthy enthusiasm and a driving passion, we have to admit that some of these manias seem helpful, at least in small doses.

However, on the other hand, no one wants to become an obsessive rhinotillexomaniac (that’s a super-smart way to say “nose-picker”), or phaneromaniac (“nail-biter”), or planomaniac (“wanderer disobeying all social norms”). So, we're here to help give you some balanced insight into some of the strangest mad habits and manias.

Infomania

With the blessing/curse of the smartphone, infomania seems to affect us all. While it's first meaning, “excessive enthusiasm for acquiring knowledge,” can be seen as a good trait . . . these days, infomania can also be an obsessive need to constantly check emails or social media.

Infomania has even spurred its own catchy new sub-condition: FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out. 

Bibliomania

If walking into a bookstore or library sends your heart into paroxysms of pitter-patters, you’re undoubtedly feeling bibliomania—the insatiable craze for books and reading.

In the 1800s, bibliomania was a big deal among wealthy British gentlemen. A guy by the curious name of Frognall Dibdin even wrote a satirical book called Bibliomania, or Book Madness: A Bibliographical Romance. In it, a character races to a bookshelf with “greedy velocity” to ogle folios and first editions made with phenomenal “morocco backs” and “water-tabby silk linings” (whatever those are). 50 shades of . . . reading?

Ergomania

Ergomania is an excessive passion for working. We all know a workaholic . . . and now you can formally diagnose them as an ergomaniac too.

From the Greek ergo for “work,” this one is easy to understand and fall prey to. Work/life balance is essential for people with these tendencies.

Ablutomania

If you know that ablution means “a cleansing with water,” then you might gather ablutomania is a passion for getting clean by bathing.

Abluere in Latin means “to wash off.” The Ancient Romans were definitely leaders in "abluere-ing”: Roman bathhouses were central to city life, and ablutomaniacs had regular sumptuous spa treatments. But, by the Dark Ages (dark and dirty), there was scarcely an ablutomaniac to be found. Bathing got a bad rap and people bathed only a few times a year, if that! Luckily, we seem to have found a good balance in terms of keeping clean.

Opsomania

Opsomania is a longing or desire for a specific food. So, basically, a craving.

But, it's not all pickles and pregnancies with opsomania, which, historically, referred to an intense craving for “dainty food” in particular. So, if you have a friend who just can't do without finger sandwiches or petit fours, time for an opsomania intervention.

Choreomania

Choreography literally means “dance writing,” so choreomania is “dance madness.” Maybe dancing, like having a cold or flu, is contagious. Hence why John Travolta gyrates in his famous white suit in a film called Saturday Night Fever.

According to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, in the 1400s across Europe, choreomania spread like wildfire. There was a plague of dancing from Germany to the Netherlands and Belgium. Children shimmied and sashayed for 12 miles straight before they dispersed. Bridges toppled under the weight of 200 manic movers-‘n-shakers. People bumped and grinded for months on end. “You can’t resist it / It’s electric! / Boogie woogie woogie . . . .”

Melomania

From Coachella and Lollapalooza in the US to Rock in Rio (Brazil) and Mawazine (Morocco), music festivals are the best places to find millions of people in the gyrating throes of melomania. In this manic word, the -mania is prefixed by a derivative of the Greek melos (“song, tune”)—the same prefix in melody.

Melomaniacs possess an uncontrollable passion for all things melodic. In fact, these music maniacs also go by the name musicomaniacs whenever they want to make sure others know they’re insanely passionate about all aspects of music—melodies, harmonies, rhythms, rests, dynamics, lyrics, you name it. For these guys, music is the ultimate macrocosm, microcosm, and every ‘cosm in between.

Phagomania

Phagomania is a compulsive desire to eat. If you’re afraid you suffer from phagomania whenever a box of donuts is in front of you, no worries. It’s normal to want to inhale them, but if you've had three already and you still go back for two more . . . you may be bordering on phagomania. The key is learning when enough is enough.

Catapedamania

Sounds like a maniacal love of caterpillars, but catapedamania is actually an obsession with jumping from high places. Bungee jumpers, sky-divers, high-diving-board gravitaters, and the like all have this mad habit. Literally, in Greek this mania translates as “downward (cata) foot (ped) mania.” Makes sense unless you decide to dive head first!

Logorrhea

This mania borrows its -ia suffix from the word diarrhea, but it's not nearly as disgusting . . . . 

Logorrhea refers to excessive and sometimes incoherent talkativeness; “an excessive flow of words.” Diarrhea of the mouth you might say? Well, this mania is so common, there's another word for it too . . . .

Logomania, lexicomania, typomania, verbomania

Words are so easy to become obsessed with! Fittingly, there are at least four -mania words to describe these compulsions. (We might have all four!)

Anyone exceedingly, fanatically interested in words suffers from verbomania. Logomania (similar to logorrhea above, no?) is a form of insanity where people talk incessantly, usually without making sense. But, the term’s also used lightheartedly for “over-talkativeness”; whether nervous, giddy, or full of liquid courage, most everyone becomes a logomaniac at some point.

Of course, some people really aren’t so crazy about blabbing. For those folks, their mad habits might be lexicomania ("obsession with collecting dictionaries") and typomania ("obsession with typography"). Typomania also applies to the compulsion to put thoughts in writing (like at 3am . . . you’ve been there, too, huh?).

Clinomania

To some degree, on a Saturday morning, everyone succumbs to clinomania. Think “reclining” (and the place where you spend a third of your lifetime doing it).

Clinomania is "an excessive desire to stay in bed." The gentle nest of a comfy mattress and cuddly covers is just about impossible to climb out of, or, as one clinomaniac put it, “the thought of leaving bed is as daunting as leaving the womb.” However, if a clinomaniac hasn't seen the light of day for . . . well, days, it could be a sign of depression, so keep a look out and be ready to step in if necessary! Support can come from beyond the mattress springs as well.

Poriomania

Poriomania is a passion for wandering or journeying away from home, which has a melancholic beauty to it if you're thinking about a young 20-something venturing out on their own.

But sometimes, the passion for wandering away from home is described as morbidmeaning caused by a disease, which explains why this mania is often seen in people with dementia.

Doromania

No doubt about it, the holiday season can bring out strange gift-giving behaviors in anyone, but that’s situational (or, we should say, seasonal).

People who are obsessed year-round with giving presents have true, undisputed doromania (doron means “gift” in Greek). Dedicated doron-donators can’t help but bestow money and gifts on others. This is a real problem if the finances aren't as bountiful as the desire to give is.

Sophomania

Sophomania is the delusion that one possesses super-intelligence, rooted in the Greek sophist, “to become wise or learned.”  

It's probably not a mistake that a whole grade of high schoolers are called sophomores—you're past freshman year so you now have the wisdom of the high-school halls . . . just remember, you're in high school for two more years for a reason . . . there's always room to learn.

Eulogomania

Praise is never a bad thing—well it’s sometimes a bad thing when the person praising just can’t seem to shut up about how absolutely positively, wonderfully fabulous someone or something is. On and on and on, the praise piles up until it starts smelling like a pile of . . . something else.

Eulogomania—an obsession with eulogizing, or giving praise—is unfortunately something to watch out for at funerals, too. Paying respect to the dead is one thing, but a eulogomaniac’s overpraising might be more of a call for attention than a genuine farewell.

Theomania

Theomania is the belief that you are God, or specifically chosen by God to found a religious order. Wow, that's quite a high order. 

This one dates back to 1855–60, and it's a form of monomania, which is "an interest in a single thing, object, or idea."

Gamomania

Based on the Greek gamo (“marriage,” “union”), gamomania is an obsession with making odd or extravagant marriage proposals. For example, a gamomaniac would ask his buttercup to dress like Buttercup in The Princess Bride, blindfold her, take her on horseback to a remote location perched above a plunging valley, and (of course dressed in Westley’s Zoro outfit), plunge down the slope yelling “Will you marry me?”

His buttercup’s reply: “As you wish,” while she, too, tumbles into the ravine. Magical.

Hydromania

Have an irrational craving for water? That’s hydromania.

If you’re constantly thirsty and obsessed with drinking water at all hours of the day, you might really want to see a doctor. On a fun note, though, the Italians adopted the name Hydromania for the only waterpark in Rome. With slides, pools, spinning bowls, and wave rides . . . what’s not to go crazy about?

Zoomania

If you can’t pass a stray cat, dog, squirrel, or skunk without feeling the pangs of love and yearning that can only be eased by taking that critter home with you (to join the umpteen other critters you already have), your malady is definitely zoomania ("the insane fondness for animals").

A zoomaniac’s home and surrounding environs is entirely given over to all species of flying, trotting, swimming, slithering, skittering, bounding, slinking, and stalking fauna that the zoomaniac has encountered in his or her lifetime. The zoo may be in great shape, but the zoomaniac is a total wreck: sleep-deprived, battered, scratched, and caked in animal discharge. Perhaps, it's time to seek professional human help or hire some more zookeepers for the humble abode.

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