Students itching for ink:

Tattoos are a popular form of body modification. Photo by Stevi Breshears.

By Lyndsee Cantly:

Anna Heard, a psychology major, recently recalled the time that she got her first tattoo at the age of 19.

“I immediately knew that one wasn’t enough, as soon as the session was done I started thinking of when I’d be able to get another,” Heard said.

Heard joked that maybe it did sound like she was addicted to it, but for others, that may not be a joke.

For years, body modification has been a way that people have expressed themselves to others.

As the practice has become more commonplace, however, it seems that many have taken it to a whole new level. The once rebellious and unusual act is now leaving people questioning if addiction to such a thing may be possible.

While many see tattoos and piercings as nothing more than a work of art, some see even a simple body modification as a gateway to more.

“I definitely think addiction to it is possible and I’ve seen it,” Dante Armendarez, a general education major, said.

Armendarez went on to explain that he believes people may be addicted to not only the thought of having more body modifications, but the pain received while getting them as well, and there is science to back up his claim.

According to an article on “Tattoo,” a website made specifically for tattoo and piercing research, many people get body modifications because it excites them.

More specifically, people like the rush and the relief they have before and after getting a tattoo or piercing and it’s possible to get addicted to that.

The article goes on to explain that after that people may seek out more and more body modifications just to achieve the feelings they had before.

Others, however, see body modifications as nothing more than a way to highlight their interests and looks.

“I’ve seen people with a lot of tattoos and piercings before, but I think to say they were addicted because of that is kind of ignorant,” Tanner Widowski, a general education major, said. “I just think they’re expressing themselves and I usually leave it at that,” Widowski said.

Widowski isn’t alone in this thought, however. According to “Psychology Today,” tattoos and piercings are typically used as expressions of rebelliousness or creativity and because of this it’s not uncommon for people to have more than one modification done.

Sierra Villarreal, an art history major, said that perhaps there is a line to be crossed when it comes to an actual addiction, but for the most part she doesn’t believe people cross it.

“It’s really hard to peg something like body modification as addiction in this day and age, but I think it may be possible,” said Villarreal.

“I honestly think that if people are safe about what they’re doing and it’s not really hurting anyone, then they should be able to express themselves in this artistic way,” Villarreal continued.

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