You may recognize addictive tendencies in other areas of your life after you’ve come to terms with having a drug and/or alcohol addiction. Because of the similar feelings and chemical reactions these habits produce in the body, they create some of the same feelings as with substance abuse. Recognizing and shifting these addictive behaviors is important to help bring a better sense of overall balance and good health into your life.
Like in drug and/or alcohol addictions, excessive exercise releases many “feel good” chemicals in the brain. The endorphins and dopamine released during exercise are the same neurotransmitters released with drug and alcohol use. In the case of a person over-exercising, they are compulsively driven to feel a pleasure response. Many similar bodily responses happen with over-exercising and using. Both may include obsessing, engaging in the behavior even though it is causing physical harm, or engaging in the behavior despite wanting to stop. Over-exercising can look like needing to go to the gym every day and having high-intensity workouts, or placing exercise as a higher priority than social time with friends or family. Sustaining a workout routine that is overly intense for your body daily can overtax the body, create an imbalance of high cortisol levels, and prevent proper hormone function.
Workaholism, or work addiction, happens when a person works excessively and can create feelings of a high just as much as highs experienced with substance abuse. In a work culture where overtime is often expected, lunch breaks are worked through and PTO is rarely taken. It can be difficult to set healthy boundaries to protect our mental health and exhaustion from overwork. Working too much becomes a problem when your health, relationships, and happiness suffer. Putting up the necessary boundaries can be difficult, but ultimately prove necessary.
Finding balance in life is important for your happiness and overall well-being. Both excessive exercise and workaholism create obsessive and compulsive behaviors and mental health concerns for the individual. At Avalon Malibu, we have a team of dedicated healthcare professions that can give you the help you need to manage your co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. We offer a continuum of care that supports you at every stage of your recovery. Decide to place your health and happiness as a priority and call us for a consultation at (844) 857-5992.