Though exercise addiction is not listed as a diagnosable condition, it does affect people when it becomes a problem.
What Causes Exercise Addiction?
Mental health issues like a compulsive need to exercise despite negative consequences to the body have deep roots beyond exercise. Most often, exercise addiction is connected to a need for control. Exercise addiction is closely related to eating disorders, with a foundation in poor body image. Poor body image can come from bullying or even simple comments. Body image issues can also result from trauma.
The “addiction” part of exercise addiction develops over time. A certain level of pleasure and reward is associated with the compulsive behavior of exercise. Repeatedly, this creates a strong connection in which the brain feels it needs to feel the reward of exercise when there is any negativity. For someone who feels out of control in their life for any reason, exercise becomes a coping mechanism for dealing with the stress of obsessive thinking.
Does Exercise Addiction Only Involve Exercise?
Since exercise addiction is so intimately tied to eating disorders, it usually is not an isolated effort. Eating disorder behaviors like restriction, binging, and even purging can accompany exercise addiction. Body dysmorphia is also a part of an eating disorder often times, skewing the perception one has of the shape and size of their body.
What Are The Effects Of Exercise Addiction?
- Stress Fractures
- Menstruation problems in women
- Erectile problems in men
- Weakened muscles
- Debilitating spinal injuries
- Weakened bones
- Loss of relationships
- Social isolation
Are There Different Types Of Exercise Addiction?
There are two types of exercise addiction: primary and secondary.
- Primary Exercise Addiction: This kind of exercise addiction is not associated with eating disorders but exists on its own. All of the symptoms of addiction are common with exercise addiction, including an unhealthy drive behind the compulsive behaviors.
- Secondary Exercise Addiction: As part of a co-occurring eating disorder, a secondary exercise addiction is a way to control weight and body image.
How Do You Recover From Exercise Addiction?
When undergoing an assessment for exercise addiction, it is important to be screened for other addictions as well. Commonly, exercise addiction is a symptom of addictive behavior. Other compulsive addiction problems, as well as other mental health disorders, can accompany exercise addiction.
Avalon By The Sea warmly welcomes all who are seeking to recover and heal. Our residential treatment programs are designed to treat mental health disorders as a primary condition. Focusing on mind, body, and spirit, we seek to restore the spirit in a journey of wellness. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call us today at 1 888-958-7511.