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About Everything Wiki » Fitness » How to recognize addiction to training and what will help to get rid of it

How to recognize addiction to training and what will help to get rid of it

08 Jun 2023, 00:02, parser
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What is exercise addiction

It's an obsession K. Berczik, A. Szabó, et al. Exercise addiction: Symptoms, diagnosis, epidemiology, and etiology / Substance Use and Misuse excessive physical activity, which leads to physiological or psychological problems. For example, to injury due to too frequent exercise or withdrawal syndrome characteristic of addictions.

Researchers distinguish two types of this condition:

  • Primary — dependence on exercise without an eating disorder.
  • Secondary — dependence on exercise, which accompanies eating disorder. It often occurs when a person tries to control his weight.

Usually, the risk of developing dependence on training is highest at the age of J. Edmunds, N. Ntoumanis, J. L. Duda. Examining exercise dependence symptomatology from a self-determination perspective / Journal of Health Psychology from 18 to 35 years old. It is the same for everyone, although representatives of different sexes tend to have different S. Grandi, C. Clementi, et al. Personality characteristics and psychological distress associated with primary exercise dependence: An exploratory study / Psychiatry Research dependency types. Men — to the primary, and women — to the secondary. This is due to the fact that women are more susceptible to eating disorders.

How to identify dependence on training

It is important to note that this addiction — just like addiction to sex, the Internet and shopping — is not included in the list of mental disorders. There is not enough data about them yet. Nevertheless, based on well-established criteria for identifying dependence on psychoactive substances, scientists have created a scale H. A. Hausenblas, D. Symons Downs. How much is too much? The development and validation of the exercise dependence scale / Psychology and Health of seven criteria. If a person meets at least three of them, we can say that he is either already addicted to training, or is at risk.

These are the criteria.

  1. Addictive. You increase the time or intensity of training, because in the previous mode you stopped feeling the desired effect — improved mood , cheerfulness.
  2. Withdrawal syndrome. When you can't exercise for some reason, you get negative symptoms A. A. Weinstein, C. Koehmstedt, W. J. Kop. Mental health consequences of exercise withdrawal: A systematic review / General Hospital Psychiatry : increased anxiety, irritation, bad mood. You feel that you need to practice to take them off or postpone their appearance.
  3. Unintentional. You are doing more than you originally planned (longer, more often, more intensively). As a result, you are often late everywhere, miss important events or meetings.
  4. Loss of control. You continue to train despite the fact that you want to reduce the number of classes. During the day, you think most about going to the gym. Even realizing that something has gone wrong, you can't stop.
  5. The amount of time spent. You devote a lot of time to training, even when traveling and traveling.
  6. Conflict with other cases. Time for family, socializing, hobbies and recreation is reduced. All this fades into the background, because it conflicts with training. What used to bring joy now seems like a hindrance.
  7. Continuity. You continue to train, even realizing that you have a physiological or psychological problem. For example, you practice despite the pain and the doctor's recommendations to rest. You pride yourself on always sticking to your workout routine.

The main criterion is considered to be continuity. A person who is addicted to training will continue to exercise even with an injury or simply change the type of physical activity in order to experience less pain. An ordinary person who is fond of sports will give the body time to recover .

Another crucial indicator is withdrawal syndrome. Experiencing a rise in mood and a decrease in anxiety during exercise is a common thing. But a dependent person trains in order to avoid negative feelings. If training is not possible, severe anxiety, depression, problems with cognitive functions (memory, concentration, decision-making) often occur.

What is the reason for the dependence on training

Usually, the risk of developing an obsessive state is high in people who are generally prone to addiction. It is often replaced by other destructive habits, such as addiction to alcohol or shopping. People start exercising a lot, thinking it's a healthier alternative.

In addition, it can appear due to stress in life. For example, when a person after school moves to another city for the sake of studying. Such stressful situations, when it seems that life is out of control, can push you to excessive training. This is how an attempt to take the situation into their own hands is manifested.

Many people with an addiction to exercise also show symptoms of obsessive‑compulsive or anxiety disorder. For them, training is an attempt to control their anxiety without resorting to alcohol and other bad habits.

Where is the boundary between the normal amount of training and addiction

It is important to evaluate not only the total time spent on training, but also the motivation behind them. For example, a person who is preparing for a triathlon can practice for four, five or even six hours a day, but not be dependent. Because he can easily arrange a day of rest and rearrange his schedule due to personal circumstances or injury.

When the desire to train turns into obsessive and begins to conflict with work and family responsibilities, it goes to addiction. In the case of a full-fledged addiction, the desire to train becomes all-consuming, it comes to the point that a person thinks only about it all day. In this case, people practice several times a day, and their workouts will be longer and longer.

If an ordinary person does not manage to work out during the day (due to unforeseen business at work or other circumstances), he will not skip dinner with loved ones to go to the gym. He'll just reschedule classes for the next day. An addict will refuse such a dinner, just not to miss a workout.

How to cope with addiction to training

There is no single standard approach. In general, it is advised to consult a psychotherapist or psychologist in order to rebuild your attitude to sports. Specialists can offer cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as work with a personal trainer who will help bring the amount of training to a level that is not harmful to health. A psychologist will also help you figure out the reasons that initially pushed you to excessive training.

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