addiction has only recently begun to be studied, but is closely related
to bulimia nervosa, in that the exercise is used as a way of purging.
It is a compulsory need for some physical type of exercise. Addictions
include commitment to jogging, running, jazzercize, stair-stepping,
high intensity aerobics and/or weight training. Some people run on treadmills,
spin, or stair-step for hours or participate in more than one exercise
class per day. Like other eating disorders, people with exercise addiction
have lives which revolve around their exercise. They feel controlled
by their exercises and refuse to miss a session of their work out schedule.
These individuals will even exercise when they have physical injuries,
thus exacerbating their wounds and creating further damage.
A person with
an eating disorder who is also afflicted with compulsive exercise
is in extreme danger for developing medical problems. Any heart murmurs
or arrythmias are naturally aggravated and made worse. Because the
nutrition of someone with an eating disorder is often poor, the individual
also runs the risk of bone damage and loss from osteoporosis. In athletes
with compulsive exercising it isn't uncommon for them to be afflicted
with stress fractures and more physical injuries than their other
teammates. Any injuries the person does get do not heal, either, or
they take an abnormally long time. A bruise on the hip from bumping
into a chair may take as long as two months to fully heal because
the body is so run down and does not have the proper nutrition to
heal the damage.
treatment, most individuals can be relieved of the symptoms or helped
to control eating disorders. Treatment for eating disorders usually
requires a team approach; including individual therapy, family therapy,
working with a primary care physician, working with a nutritionist,
and medication. Many people also suffer from other problems; including
depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It is important to recognize
and get appropriate treatment for these problems as well.