What is compulsive exercise?
Compulsive exercise is often referred to as anorexia athletica, obligatory exercise, and exercise addiction. These conditions can be as severe as other eating disorders. In fact, compulsive exercise occurs alongside other types of eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia. Exercising too much can eventually lead to injury, unsafe weight loss, and even malnutrition. As a result, those suffering from this disorder require appropriate compulsive exercise treatment.
For the average person, it can be hard to tell the difference between a person that is dedicated to fitness and a person with an exercise addiction. Keep an eye out for the following signs to know if your loved one has a problem:
- Engaging in exercise beyond the requirements for good health
- Stealing time to exercise from work, school, and relationships
- Striving to achieve and master ever more difficult challenges
- Defining self-worth in terms of body image and shape
- Never or rarely feeling satisfied with athletic achievements; small satisfactions are fleeting, and the individual does not savor victory, but rather, pushes on to the next challenge immediately
- Justifying excessive behavior by defining self as a “special” elite athlete