Too much exercise can lead to addiction with physical withdrawal symptoms
Sports are generally assumed to have a fundamentally positive effect in terms of health, but sports activities can also become a kind of addiction, experts from the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN) report. Phases in which the usual sports program cannot be carried out cause withdrawal symptoms, which also include physical complaints.
Adequate physical exercise has been shown to have a preventive effect on obesity, cardiovascular complaints, hardening of the arteries and numerous other diseases, not least because sporting activities also strengthen the immune system. However, a sports addiction can develop with a pronounced fitness program, which leads to complaints as soon as the training is canceled. Possible warning signals are "withdrawal symptoms like alcohol addiction: for example headache, stomachache and nervousness when you are not doing sports", the news agency "dpa" quotes the DGPPN expert and director of the clinic and polyclinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital Bonn , Professor Wolfgang Maier.
Withdrawal symptoms as soon as training units are no longer available. The expert comes to the conclusion that sport addiction is a much more widespread phenomenon than is often assumed. According to Prof. Maier, anyone who has to deal with withdrawal symptoms when the training sessions are canceled should seek medical help. "There are sports doctors and sports therapists, but that can also be a family doctor," Prof. Maier told the news agency "dpa". As part of the therapy, physical activities are sought, among other things, that do not provoke addictive behavior and still convey personal satisfaction. Here, for example, a strictly prescribed training plan helps, which typically sports addicts would also complete more and more and more difficult training units. "The body is demanding more and more frequently for sporting activities so that the dose increases over a period of time," explained Maier, adding: "Some people get up in the middle of the night to exercise."
Consequences of sport addiction As a result of their addiction, many sufferers, according to the expert, suffer from lack of sleep and muscle problems. They would also increasingly isolate themselves in order to be able to train more. The fitness program is their central purpose in life. If those affected recognize signs of a sports addiction, Professor Maier recommends deliberately trying to reduce the training units. In addition, it is "important to find a different form of well-being", since so-called "exercise addiction" - like other addictions - works via the reward system. (fp)
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