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Some people love extreme sports or engage in different risky activities, but this ‘living on the edge’ is not for everyone. Why is that? People have different personalities, and are defined by a unique sum of psychological traits (characteristics). So, some individuals have a number of traits that make them drawn towards dangerous or extreme situations that give them a unique sensation of excitement. They are called sensation seekers, and that feeling is given by adrenaline, a hormone secreted by our body when we find ourselves in life-threatening situations and gives us a boost of energy either to face the situation or to avoid it. This is called fight or flight response.

Even if thrill-seeking goes against the human nature (survival), the addiction to it can also be explained by the natural ‘high’ that they feel, provided by a pleasure-giving neurotransmitter called dopamine. In other words, sensation seekers are in a way addicted on the adrenaline’s effect on their bodies, so they practice extreme sports or are on a constant hunt for dangerous or risky behavior. For some, it may actually become an addiction, in which case they should seek professional help.

Anitha Tata is a Clinical Psychology graduate student from Transilvania University of Brasov, Romania and is currently doing an internship at Willingness. She enjoys exploring new ideas through self-learning and strives to enrich her professional experience by seizing opportunities to work in a multicultural context.

Photo credit: Fred Marie via Flickr