Regular exercise is recommended for our physical and psychological well-being. It helps our bodies move and function optimally while releasing happy chemicals within our brains, acting as therapy for some. Yet, these feelings can sometimes be highly addictive to some individuals, just like a drug.
Exercise addiction is real and is categorised as a behavioural addiction. Although exercise is one of the most advocated coping strategies to sustain a balanced life, it can, in fact, be bad for our health when the behaviour develops into an addiction.
Risks are also found within competitive environments for those with athletic backgrounds and those who also encounter eating disorders and comparison disorders symptoms. While exercising may carry feelings that make everything seem better, to an extreme level, it can, in fact, place so much pressure on the body, posing the risk of many health concerns.
To avoid an addiction like this, a positive relationship with movement should be formed. To get the help, you may consider exercise addiction treatment & rehab services to deter the damages of excessive exercise.
Compulsive behaviours must be worked through, as without exercise, similar addictive stimuli may be relied upon. Avoid this probability by considering help here at Addiction Advocates.
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What is exercise addiction?
Exercise addiction is where physical activity is relied upon, down to the positive reinforcements that it offers.
Here’s where individuals will exercise excessively; from the length of time they move for and the number of calories they burn to the intensity of exercise activities, addictive, obsessive behaviours can develop.
While exercise is promoted to maintain physical and psychological wellbeing, balance and exercise addiction will reflect obsessive levels of activity, which pushes the boundaries on safety and sustainability.
Throughout exposure to excessive levels of exercise, the enjoyment, the control, and the benefits of such activity, in fact, disappear, engulfed by the feelings that exercise promote.
For example, exercise is a form of therapy to relieve stress for many individuals. Once an exercise addiction develops, the rebound effect can occur, which induces greater stress levels for an individual until exercise activity has been completed.
Also, being aware that exercise addiction treatment & rehab are available to you if you’re struggling is important to help adapt your relationship with exercise.
Exercise is something that we should all aim for, part and parcel of maintaining a balanced life. Yet, it’s important to do so for the right reasons, without enabling the amount of behavioural addiction.
Diagnosing an exercise addiction
However, diagnosing an exercise addiction will be possible by considering the behavioural changes that it incurs.
Therefore, a diagnosis will be recommended for sufferers once extreme exercise and the symptoms of addiction are found to deter the quality of life.
For example, if extreme exercise is damaging physical or psychological health, if it’s taking priority over other essential responsibilities, or if it’s dominating your career, relationships or time, a diagnosis, followed by treatment, will be available.
Signs of exercise addiction to look out for
- Excessive levels of exercising, from the length of sessions to
- the severity of the activity
- Where exercise dominates life, from taking up a large proportion of the day to disrupting relationships and further responsibilities
- Where multiple forms of exercise are aimed for
- Compulsive and obsessive behaviours and outlooks around exercising
- Seeing exercise as a priority
- Experiencing physical and psychological health concerns from over-exercising
- Developing signs of eating disorders and comparison disorders
- Feeling extremely guilty or punished if an exercise session is missed
Those at risk of developing an exercise addiction
The personal feelings attached to exercise can impact any individual who uses exercise as an outlet of coping, relief, or balance. However, certain individuals are at greater risk, down to their mindset, personalities, genetics, environments, and perceptions.
If exercise is seen as a coping strategy if positive reinforcers can, in fact, develop a dual diagnosis. People who are situated within competitive relationships or environments are also at risk of developing an exercise addiction.
For example, if excessive exercise levels are promoted or accepted within a certain hobby, being exposed to such an outlook and spending time with people with similar beliefs can increase the risk of behavioural addictions.
Those who display signs of eating disorders and comparison disorders surrounding self-image also rank at risk when considering exercise addiction.
This is down to exercise’s role when managing deeper emotional problems, such as low self-esteem or distorted views on weight.
Fixating on what exercise offers at the moment can heighten the risk of addiction, which undoubtedly will require exercise addiction treatment & rehab to reverse the emotional gap that it fills.
The necessity of completing exercise addiction treatment & rehab
Treatment and rehab services for an exercise addiction will need to be completed. Without their involvement and guidance, many health concerns, further addictive behaviours and mental health risks can develop.
The greatest form of exercise addiction treatment will focus on therapy, with even greater highlights of cognitive behavioural therapy. Getting to the bottom of the emotional response that exercise offers will aim to readjust understandings and develop healthier, sustainable coping strategies.
Support groups are also available, dual diagnosis treatment will be available, and lifestyle management will also be recommended to obtain balance in life.
Experiencing rehab will do more than treat addiction. It will offer direction on managing symptoms, how to view stimuli moving forward and how to prevent relapse.
Exercise is something that will forever be recommended, meaning that you will be exposed to it in the future. Therefore, learning to develop healthy relationships with its benefits is encouraged, possible through exercise addiction treatment & rehab.
Contact our team at Addiction Advocates for further direction on this.
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