Sunday, August 7, 2016

Exercise Addiction

  Reading the slides from our Drugs Lecture, I had a feeling many people would doubt it is possible to have an exercise addiction. Personally, I have seen this first-hand and it is just as bad as drug addiction. I befriended a girl in my class two semesters ago who went to the gym all of the time. I envied her motivation to get to the gym and be healthy until I realized that it was something she NEEDED. During studying for finals, she would take multiple breaks to go and workout, and sometimes she would even skip class because she wanted to go to yoga in the morning instead. This behavioral addiction seemed like a "positive addiction" to me because at least it benefited her health, just as our slides state. However, I later learned that my friend was using exercise as a negative reinforcer.

  This girl used exercise as a relief from the stress that her eating disorder gave her. As time went on she was working out more and more and taking yoga classes three times a day sometimes. I realize now that her exercise tolerance must have been growing. This was evident when she came away with my friends and I for a birthday weekend and she was more irritable than ever. Being out all day from the hotel, and even swimming or eating when we came back, she wasn't spending any time working out and several times she had an anger outburst over very small things. I see this now as exercise withdrawal. She was exercise dependent, and being a full time student did not always allow for her to workout as much as she liked. Just as drug addicts lose people, my friendship with her eventually fizzled due to her almost always being very irritable. What was sad was that at the end of our friendship I had caught a glimpse of a book she was deep into reading, "Life of an Exercise Addict".

  Addiction is a sad and rough thing to go through. There really is such a thing as behavioral addiction which I saw first hand with this classmate and her exercising. By reading this book I saw that she was making efforts towards helping her addiction, but who knows if she has been able to overcome it. This class has educated me a little more on this topic, and I am appreciative of that.

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