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Totally Addicted to Base

sweden flagFact: A Swedish man collects disability benefits for being addicted to heavy metal

Most people struggle with an addiction to something at one stage in their lives – cigarettes, alcohol, the odd bad boy. But what would you say if I told you that I was addicted to the crooning sounds of Louis Armstrong? Or I could not go a day without the latest One Direction song blasting from my speakers? Contrary to being laughed at (or pitied), the Swedish government might actually take you seriously.

This is true of one Roger Tullgren, a 42-year-old from Hässleholm, Sweden who is incomprehensibly and completely addicted to heavy metal. The addiction apparently started back in 1971 when his brother played him a Black Sabbath album, and has evolved into a full-blown compulsion that resulted in Tullgren needing to see almost 300 heavy metal concerts a year.

The tattooed, long-haired, skull-and-crossbone sporting Swede had reportedly tried to get his disorder classified as a handicap for 10 years, due to the fact that all those concerts he had been compelled to go to rendered it almost impossible to hold a normal job, in addition to depleting all forms of savings he would use to survive on. After visits to three different psychologists, all of which agreed that Tullgren’s strange situation is indeed out of his control, the metal head was awarded financial benefits from the state.

heavymetal5 years after his appeal to the government, Roger now works part-time as a dishwasher, and is still very much addicted. His new boss grants him time off to see concerts, lets him express his hard rocker style, and allows him to listen to his favourite tunes as long as none of the diners at the restaurant are bothered. His story gained international fame during his public request for state subsidy, and needless to say, there are those out there with their doubts. Those who do believe his tale of uncontrollable addiction to heavy metal have accused the government of enabling him, as opposed to helping cure him of it, as you would do with the ‘regular’ addict.

Tullgren is not alone out there in the land of strange addictions. TLC’s My Strange Addictions has featured stories about everything from Bertha being addicted to drinking nail polish, Teresa who eats about 2 pounds of rocks a day (regardless of the chipped teeth and digestive issues), Adele who chomps away at seat cushions (where the darker bits have more flavour) and then of course Casie, a widow addicted to not only carrying her dead husband’s ashes with her, but occasionally dipping her fingers in for a taste. The difference however, is that these people will not be receiving money from the government to support their crazy habits.

Do you know of any strange addictions that you’d like to share with us? If you want to know more about how bizarrely interesting Sweden can be, play our True or False facts game!