Fitness addiction, in many senses, is comparable to alcoholism – and can have just as serious consequences on the addict’s life. The typical fitness addict is male and anywhere from 20 to 35 years of age. Like alcoholism, withdrawal symptoms of fitness addiction can have a hugely negative impact on the social life, family life, and working life of the addict. Symptoms of fitness withdrawal typically include frustration, anger, restlessness, and feelings of consuming guilt. Fitness addicts use exercise to regulate their moods – working out becomes the go-to answer for everything. There is no question that a little bit of physical exertion will help boost anyone’s mood. A mere 10 minutes of exercise is shown to alleviate depression, reduce anxiety, and dial down mortality. However, for the fitness addict, exercise becomes a mandatory facet of everyday life – a necessity to function.
Symptoms of Fitness Addiction
Fitness addicts tend to be perfectionists. Thus, they frequently continue to work out despite injuries and illnesses, posing serious health risks to themselves and others (if they exercise at public gyms with contagious diseases). In order for one to be deemed an addict, seeing as true addicts make up only 0.2-0.5% of the total population, several symptoms must persist.
- Exercise is perceived as the most important part of an individual’s day-to-day life.
Other priorities and obligations will eventually come second to exercise. If an individual begins to withdraw from social situations, spending less time with friends and more time to themselves, this could be a definite red flag.
- Exercise causes conflict with family or friends.
Spending less time with family and friends may cause them to feel neglected and concerned. If an individual begins to be questioned by their loved ones as to why they are withdrawing and seem shorter-tempered, this may be a sign of fitness addiction. The symptoms of “withdrawal” will also likely affect interpersonal relationships. A once pleasant person may become easily frustrated and overly sensitive.
- Despite an increasing volume of exercise, the exerciser is never content.
Similar to a drug addict or alcoholic, tolerance will grow over time. However, unlike in cases of substance dependency, a physical tolerance will not build so much as a mental one – leading to increased frequency of injury and wearing down of joints and ligaments. No matter how often or intensely the fitness addict exercises, he or she will never feel fulfilled or satisfied.
- The individual in question exercises daily or up to several times per day.
If an individual is hitting the gym before work, on his or her lunch break, and again after dinner, there is likely a serious problem to be addressed. Even heading to the gym for several hours once a day should raise concern, especially if an individual allows no time to rest and recuperate. Restitution is mandatory to maintaining health, and many fitness addicts do not allow themselves the opportunity to repose.
There Is Help Available
If you or someone you love is spending between 20 and 30 hours a week exercising, it may be a serious issue and require professional intervention. Feel free to contact one of our trained representative for more information on fitness addiction and what you can do to receive the help you deserve.