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October 17, 2011

Exercise Addiction and Other Things

HEALTH - There are many bad things one could be addicted to that are bad for your health. ie. Cocaine, crack, heroin, smoking cigarettes.

In contrast caffeine and chocolate are so comparatively minor that most people don't consider them addictions. A coke habit (Coca-Cola) certainly is better than a cocaine habit.

Anything in too much abundance to the point of addiction can be a cause for trouble, both physically and mentally.

Addictions come in many ways. A myriad different addictions for each of the Seven Deadly Sins.

1. Lust - sex addiction or fetishes.
2. Gluttony - food addiction.
3. Greed - gambling addiction. ie. internet gambling websites.
4. Sloth / Acedia - addiction to laziness or neglect. ie. procrastination.
5. Wrath - rageaholicism.
6. Envy - collection / hoarding in an attempt to outdo another.
7. Pride / Vanity - addiction to the attention of others.

But what about an addiction that is good for you? Such as an addiction to eating healthy foods?

Or how about exercising?

Truth be told even running can cause negative physical and psychological effects on a person. Runners are the most vulnerable to exercise addiction because it releases endorphins and beta-endorphins (a powerful painkiller), adrenaline and other hormones. This cocktail of chemicals ends up acting like heroin on the brain, creating a powerful addiction that many marathon runners are prone to.

Ironically there is plenty of heroin addiction treatment programs, but not many professional programs to treat exercise addiction. It can be rather difficult to determine when someone is an addict. The best route is to actually measure what they are doing and then compare to confirmed addicts.

ie. If you're running 100 km / week, you're an addict. Some exercise addicts are known to run 6 or 7 days a week, anywhere from 100 km to 150 km. They're so addicted they would rather run than spend time with friends or family. They even run when they go on vacation.

The Symptoms of Exercise Addiction

1. Insomnia and/or restlessness. All the extra chemicals being released is interfering with their ability to sleep or rest.

2. They exercise even when sick or injured.

3. They avoid family and / or friends to go exercising.

4. Anxiety, irritability, and depression.

5. Often the addict has some psychological problem from their youth that has scarred them mentally. A parent or relative who mocked their weight, being tormented by children at school, etc.

6. Denial. Exercise addicts will never admit what they are doing is "abnormal". Instead they pride themselves on being very athletic.

7. Low self esteem / an obsession with perfection.

How do you know if you are an Addict?

Have you missed important social obligations and family events?

Have you given up other interests, including time with friends?

Have you missed a workout and it makes you irritable and depressed?

Do you only feel content when exercising or after exercising?

Do you like exercise better than sex, good food or a movie?

Do you work out even when sick, injured, or exhausted?

Do you exercise more if you find extra time?

Has family or friends told you that you exercise too much?

Do you have a history of anxiety or depression?

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