Are you addicted to something?

When we think of addiction, it usually brings to mind substance addiction such as alcohol or drugs. The sad truth is we all may know someone that has, at some time or another, suffered from some form of addiction.

Even if it’s not as damaging as the above mentioned vices, people can be addicted to other products such as chocolate or sugar. Of course, there are also hidden addictions that can cause terrible consequences such as nicotine, caffeine, pain killers or sleeping tablets.

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We can become addicted to a substance when we find ourselves out of control of the desired activity. In a way, our brain holds us to ransom, demanding that we take part in the particular activity, convincing us that it’s what we want and that it will make us feel good.

Addiction also takes the form of activities such as shopping,gambling and sex.

So can we be addicted to fitness?

Well the story goes that habit can easily move into addiction, the difference being that we can control a habit and not an addiction.

Is it therefore easy to imagine a fitness habit that eventually becomes an addiction?

If that is true, can that habit be damaging to the person involved?

In the past I have met a few people who admitted to being addicted to exercise. Their schedule of gym sessions and fitness classes were carved in stone, and their routines could not be broken, no matter what. Often occasions and events would have to be missed or rescheduled if they conflicted with a session at the gym.

Friends and family can be left to the side as a visit to the gym is more desirable. It would be safe to say in that situation that they were truly addicted. Their fitness came first above everything, and that meant they were perhaps not in control of the situation.

The good news is that this type of extreme addiction is very rare in the general population, however, it does exist. Most of you reading this will now no doubt be thinking of your own schedules and wondering if you are in control or not.

Ask yourself if you had to cancel tonight’s gym session, would it leave you anxious and unsettled?

If the answer is yes, you may be bordering on addiction to the gym. Dependency on any external activity that makes you increasingly intolerant of normal every day things, can be a warning sign of addiction.

The trouble with addiction to physical activity, is the toll it can take on you and everyone around you. As far as fitness is concerned, the need to up your game to get what you require from the sessions, is a constant battle. Staying longer at your favorite venue and seeking out more intense ways of working out can also point to an increasingly dangerous habit.

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Warning symptoms

Other signs are bad sleeping patterns, disturbances in work output, becoming impatient while waiting to visit the gym and dreading events that will mean missing a visit.

Injury for the gym addict is also a huge problem and people who train while injured also show signs of addiction.

It would probably be glib to say that as far as addictions go, it’s a good one to have, but really, all addiction means that the individual is out of control and that in itself is the problem.

Addressing the addiction

As with most other addictions, there is help on offer that can make a difference to the addicted individual. Your doctor is a good place to start, and often just talking about the situation can make things clearer for many of us.

If we acknowledge the situation, we can then stop and take stock about what we are actually doing.

Be careful : addiction VS enjoy activity

Now please don’t take this article the wrong way, if some of it has rung true, that doesn’t automatically mean you are a fitness addict. I’m sure to the outside world, my own fitness routine would make me seem like an addict.

So we have to understand the difference between enjoying the activity, and being controlled by it. If you feel you may be addicted, and it’s detrimental to your everyday life. reach out for a bit of help. Whether  it’s fitness or anything else.

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