Is Getting a Tattoo An Addiction?

The long-standing association between tattoos and people of questionable character isn’t the only reason why tattoos have such a terrible connotation. While this link has been true in many cases, it is becoming less and less of a factor as each generation develops. Today, the subject of tattoos has a new cloud over it; it is darker, and rarely founded on the facts.

There are regular insinuations about tattooing’s “addictive” qualities from both those who know and those who don’t. Many people have several tattoos; some have accumulated them over years or decades, while others visit their favourite tattoo parlours on a regular basis; however, categorising this as a “addiction” is unjust, impractical, and rarely founded on fact. Because each person has a unique motive for having tattoos, it is difficult to know what that reason is unless that person expresses it. Some people get tattoos to honour a special person, some people get tattoos to feel like they belong to a certain group, and some people just love spending money. To put it another way, most people acquire tattoos for personal reasons, and it’s practically never because they’re “addicted” to them.

This misunderstanding is divided into two parts. Both contribute to a negative image of tattoos and the people who choose to get them. The first misunderstanding is that individuals are addicted to tattoos themselves; the second is that people are addicted to the process of getting tattoos– especially, that they are “addicted to pain.” One might ponder the psyche of anyone who has the latter viewpoint, but it surely creates a slew of misconceptions about the subject.

When one tattoo artist said that tattoos are a “fever,” he was referring to the uncomplicated, if peculiar, pleasure that many of his clients felt at the prospect of spending money on permanent artwork for themselves. In his workshop, he frequently said, “I suppose I’ll buy another one.” By any meaning of the word, this did not constitute “addiction.” In his decades as a tattoo artist, he has never had a customer who loved the pain of the tattooing process even in the slightest.

The term, and its erroneous application to tattoos, is frequently bandied about by folks who are all too familiar with the definition of “addiction.” Addiction is defined as a compulsion over which a person has no control. Addiction is unable to distinguish between a “desire” and a “need.” People who have a variety of addictions–drugs, alcohol, bad habits, etc.–may develop a tattoo addiction. However, this is not the case for the vast majority of those who opt to purchase them. The majority of people who get tattoos do it merely because they want them; they lack the character flaws that lead addicts to feel forced to do something.

The idea that a person gets tattoos because he or she is addicted to pain and so enjoys the painful process of getting tattooed can only come from the most oblivious or those who are dealing with personal issues.

Unfortunately, both of these myths cast a poor image on tattoos and tattoo wearers. It’s a negative reputation that neither of them deserve, because neither point of view is virtually always based on facts. While some people get tattoos for less than acceptable reasons, the majority of people who get tattoos have no bad feelings about the tattoos or the process. The bottom line is that if someone tries to persuade you that getting tattoos is an addiction, you’ve probably met someone who is an addict who is unaware that the majority of people are not.