Addiction to physical exercises – Treatment, Causes, and Effects

Exercise is an example of something that at first glance may seem very good for our health, although it is taken to extremes. However, addiction to physical exercises and extreme fixation in physical fitness is compulsive behavior that can be very difficult to stop without proper treatment.

A person who is an exercise addict is very involved in physical activity. It is not a matter of trying to reach a certain level of fitness. If an exercise addict is unable to exercise for a while, he works even more when he has the opportunity to do so.

What is addiction to physical exercises?

Addiction to physical exercises is an obsession with physical fitness and exercise. It is often the result of body image disorders and eating disorders.

Exercise addicts show similar traits to other addicts. These include obsessive behavior, carrying out the desire to exercise despite the physical damage caused, exercising despite the desire to stop, and exercising in secret (although this is not always the case).

Physical exercise causes the release of certain chemicals in the nervous system. These chemicals create a feeling of pleasure or reward. Exercise addiction can be, in part, a dependency on this pleasure response.

Weight loss and extreme health conditions related to weight loss may be the result of exercise addiction.

Signs of physical exercise addiction

The signs that you or someone you love may be an exercise addict are the following:

  • Choose to exercise instead of spending time with friends and/or family, always
  • Do compulsive exercises, such as exercising for many hours at night
  • Exercise, even when you are sick or tired
  • Feeling guilty when you can’t exercise
  • Keep very detailed records of workouts
  • Stay away from school or work due to exercise
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you cannot exercise
  • Frequent injury from over exercising

The causes of addiction to physical exercises

One of the positive effects of the practice of exercises is the release of endorphins. These hormones give a feeling of euphoria after exercising. The exercise addict develops the habit of continuing to exercise excessively in an attempt to feel that way. Over time, the duration and intensity of your training increases to achieve this feeling.

Exercise also helps relieve stress and anxiety, and it is possible that the addict turns to physical exercise to cope with the stresses of everyday life. If a person is using exercise as a way to avoid dealing with difficult problems or situations, then he can be an addict.

Consequences of addiction to physical exercises

Exercising in excess can lead to several consequences for the addict, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Decrease in testosterone production in men
  • Difficulty to relax
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle pains
  • Problems in personal relationships

Help and treatment for physical exercise addiction

How is exercise addiction diagnosed?

Exercise addiction is not always easy to diagnose. Most exercise addicts see nothing wrong with their behavior and do not seek to change.

Increased obsession with physical condition and decreased social activities commonly indicate a problem of exercise addiction. The doctor may ask the addict to have a diary of their exercise routines and social activities to determine is addicted.

When you are ready to get help for exercise addiction, it is best to talk with a psychologist or a psychiatrist to discover and treat the root of the problem. Your doctor can refer you to someone qualified to help you stop using the exercise in an inappropriate way. The goal of treatment is to help the addict learn how to exercise enough to stay healthy, without becoming obsessed with this habit.

The recovery and rehabilitation of addiction to physical exercises

Exercise is something important for health. The person who is an exercise addict needs to learn how to change their behavior and limit their level of physical activity to moderate levels. Starting a therapy for this obsessive-compulsive disorder and with the advice of a psychiatrist can address the need to exercise excessively.

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