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Exercise Addiction

As with other forms of addiction, an unhealthy obsession with exercise can be harmful and is commonly associated with an eating disorder or distorted body image.

Exercise addiction has not been formally recognized by the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, fifth edition (DSM-5). However, many specialists conclude that it is a very real condition. As with other forms of addiction, exercise addiction is associated with a release of dopamine in the brain. This is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter active in the reward centres of the brain.

Definition of Exercise Addiction

  • Increasing the amount of exercise in order to feel the desired effect or sense of accomplishment

  • Missing a workout causes irritability or moodiness

  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut back or stop

  • Unable to stick to an intended routine and consistently going beyond the intended amount of time

  • A great deal of time is spent preparing for, engaging in and recovering from exercise

  • Social, occupational and/or recreational activities reduces or stops

  • Continuing to exercise despite knowing it is harmful

Treatment for Exercise Addiction

  • Self-help organizations – Talking with others who also have a disorder have been proven to be very effective. 

  • Therapy – Behaviour therapy or cognitive behaviour therapy is proven evidence-based therapy teaching skills to reduce the urges. Find a licensed practitioner

  • Medications – Studies suggest that some medication may be effective for the treatment of gambling addiction. Speak to a psychiatrist specialised in addiction treatment for an evaluation and recommendations.

  • Treatment programs – Many in-treatment and outpatient programs can assist with a gambling disorder.

Why choose PRC Recovery?

We are a registered treatment centre specialising in the treatment of addictive disorders. Our individualised approach to treating addiction is based on international standards and includes the many proven modalities in the treatment of addiction. Key focus areas for an effective program:

  • Family involvement – family participation in the treatment of any addiction is vital.

  • Individualised approach – underlying issues prolonging any addiction is based on the individual and therefore individual treatment plans are an important component to effective treatment of addiction by a qualified professional counsellor.

  • 12 step program – Twelve step programs have proven highly effective in the treatment of addiction and starts forming the solid foundation in early recovery. It is also used as the platform to the introduction of self-help organisations, forming part of the aftercare.

  • Aftercare – Stopping the addiction is only the foundation phase in the treatment of addiction. A well thought-out aftercare plan is crucial to sustain long-term recovery.

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