The Guardian Positions Lip Balm Addiction as OCD
A major article chronicling our struggle with sobriety was published today. Are you a lip balm addict? by Morwenna Ferrier includes some interesting statistics, including that the balm industry is now expected to hit £1 billion this year. Unfortunately, the article describes the affliction as not really an addiction but merely a compulsion.
While lip balm isn’t addictive in the actual, traditional sense because it doesn’t contain ingredients which generally cause physiological dependency – a spokesperson from mental health charity Mind said it’s not something they’ve come across – compulsive application is “a thing” and tantamount to an OCD. As Joel Rose, director of OCD Action, explains “the minute you define it it becomes a thing, the compulsion becomes real”. And if you like to apply lip balm 70 times a day, then you may be displaying compulsive tendencies.
Rose might be complaining that those of us in recovery from lip balm addiction are “playing fast and loose with language”, but when I was using Cherry Chapstick dozens of times a day it wasn’t because I felt a psychological desire to sooth. It was because my lips burned and I felt pain that could only be addressed using lip balm.
Still it’s nice that the Guardian article keenly plays it down the middle and acknowledges that regardless of the reason there’s pain out there for people who habitually use lip balm.
Are you one of those people who applies it multiple times a day? Yes. Do your lips still feel chapped? Yes. And yet do you continue to apply it despite evidence suggesting it’s not helping? Yes. Then you might have a problem.