Though not yet officially recognized as a medical condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), exercise addiction can have pervasive harmful effects and there is help for overcoming it. If you or a loved one suffer from an addiction to exercise, we can help you find a treatment facility. You can call our confidential hotline at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? .
What Is Exercise Addiction?
An effective treatment program can help addicts peel back the layers until they get to the heart of their problems.
An official definition of exercise addiction is still under development.
In general, however, it is a behavioral addiction in which one exercises excessively and with negative consequences to psychological and physiological health. Behavior is compulsive and one is preoccupied with exercising. This causes dysfunction in many realms of life including physical and mental health as well as social and family relationships.It can be challenging to distinguish a person addicted to exercise from one who is exercising a great deal but is not mentally or physically dependent on it. However, the signs of exercise addiction mirror many of the symptoms that define other types of addiction. These include:
- Increasing the amount of exercise performed to detrimental and harmful levels
- Displaying withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tension and sleeplessness following exercise deprivation
- A dependence on the euphoric state activated by the endorphins released during exercise; increasing exercise to produce the same effect
- Neglecting other responsibilities in favor of exercising
- Exercising even when trauma or health issues makes it counterproductive or harmful
- An inability to control the amount of exercise; unsuccessful attempts to stop
- An obsession with preparing, engaging in and recovering from exercise
What Causes Exercise Addiction?
The cause of exercise addiction varies. It is thought that people become addicted to the euphoria caused when endorphins are released by the body during high levels of physical activity. This creates a positive feedback loop that is believed to be at the heart of the addiction.
However, exercise addiction may be a symptom of an eating disorder. For example, some who binge eat may use exercise to counteract the effects of binging.. It is estimated that about 25% of people with either an eating disorder or an exercise addiction also have both conditions.
Cultural emphasis on body weight and tone appears also to drive exercise addiction. Some, too, may have other issues in which obsessive or compulsive symptoms are problematic and seep into exercise routines.
Finding an Inpatient Rehab Facility
Addictions have many layers. An effective treatment program can help addicts get to the heart of their problems, to understand the causes and to find successful ways to resolve those issues. While an exercise addiction can be treated with outpatient services, inpatient treatment programs are often more effective since there is greater structure and support during treatment. An inpatient program allows intensive monitoring and intervention in daily behaviors that contribute to an exercise addiction.
Finding the right addiction recovery facility for you involves pinpointing your individual needs, preferences and available resources. Things to consider when exploring your treatment options include:
- Distance from your home
- Length of time you will be in the program
- Accommodation for a disability
- Program or rehab cost
- Safety and privacy
- Methods of payment accepted
- Aftercare or extended care
- Private or group therapy
- Opportunities to transition to a support group
Once you have a general idea of what you want, use the resources at your disposal to find treatment facilities that will provide it. You can get recommendations from family and friends, mental health professionals and even the Internet. Do not hesitate to call our hotline at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? . With access to information about thousands of exercise rehab centers across the nation, our counselors can answer your questions about treatment programs and help you find the best one for you.
Like many other addictions, exercise addiction can be overcome. The right program coupled with a determination to beat the addiction can lead to a healthy relationship with exercise. To find an inpatient exercise recovery center near you, call our national hotline at 1-888-319-2606 Who Answers? .
You are never too old to improve your health and quality of life!