My Name is Roger and I’m a Heavy Metal Addict
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My Name is Roger and I’m a Heavy Metal Addict


A Swedish man’s overwhelming desire for decibels has resulted in what may be the first official case of heavy metal addiction.

Roger Tullgren can now claim disability benefits after winning a long battle to have his heavy-metal handicap recognized. “I spoke to three psychologists and they finally agreed that I needed this to avoid being discriminated against,” the part-time dishwasher said. His disability status also means he can wear metal-themed clothing to work, play music on the job and leave his place of employment, as he deems necessary, to attend concerts.

Sweden is well-known for its generous welfare state. But is this really an addiction?

Checking Out on Music

There may be a biochemical basis for it. The dopamine that is released while someone is engaged in more “orthodox” addictions like sex, booze and drugs is also released when listening to music. Certain songs definitely stir my emotions. And while music certainly doesn’t put a chemical into the system, it’s a surefire way to check out, the same reason many addicts consistently turn to drugs or alcohol.

Now that I’ve quit drinking, I constantly check out mentally with Facebook, Instagram, Cadbury mini eggs (a seasonal distraction) and this ridiculous trivia app on my phone I’m embarrassed to name. None of those things have made my life unmanageablebut I can see how it could happen.

Peter Pan Syndrome

You might wonder why someone would choose to make his life uncontrollable with something so mainstream and culturally accepted as music? Then again, there’s a chance this guy just doesn’t want to grow up, a Peter Pan trait to which many alcoholics and addicts can certainly relate, if they are being honest with themselves.

The story does not divulge whether Tullgren is seeking treatment through a 12-step program (though we can all safely assume that an appropriate program for his addiction doesn’t exist). Still, as the article points out, his case sort of undermines the role of music therapy in treating addiction. It’s certainly out of the question for Tullgren.

On balance, I think it’s safe to say the problem he’s developed due to overindulging in the “poison” (quotes may not be necessary if you’re an avid heavy metal hater) of his choice is extremely rare. So either this guy is finally getting the help and understanding he really needs—or he’s grinning all the way to the handicap parking spot at his next Iron Maiden concert.

Photo courtesy of Metalheart (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Mary Patterson Broome has written for After Party Magazine, Women's Health Magazine Online, AOL, WE TV and Mashed. She has been performing stand-up comedy at clubs, colleges, casinos, and festivals for over a decade.