"Sports Addiction" - Exercise Out Of Compulsion

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"Sports Addiction" - Exercise Out Of Compulsion
"Sports Addiction" - Exercise Out Of Compulsion

Video: "Sports Addiction" - Exercise Out Of Compulsion

Video: "Sports Addiction" - Exercise Out Of Compulsion
Video: In the Zone #6 Sports addiction 2023, March

“Sports addiction”: Compulsive exercise

In the case of "sports addiction", sport and exercise are the focus in the life of those affected and are particularly important. Sometimes training takes place early in the morning, in the middle of the night or even in secret. Although sport is "just" a hobby, several hours a day are required The compulsion to do sport takes control. Outsiders often admire the athletes' iron discipline, as it is sometimes difficult to perceive that those affected are controlled by the compulsion to do sport.

Exercise and sport are good for health - that is undisputed. In the case of “sports addiction”, however, these limits are clearly exceeded. The focus is no longer on the joy of movement, but often an inner compulsion that calls for a steady dose in order to feel good again. “Sports addicts” simply cannot get enough of exercise. Everything else has lower priority, even your own health is not excluded here.


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  • "> "Sports addiction" - what is it?


  • What forms of “sports addiction” are there?
  • Who is affected by "sports addiction"?
  • When does the extent of sport become questionable?
  • How does “sports addiction” develop?
  • Anorexia and sport ("Anorexia athletica")


"Sports addiction" - what is it?

“Sports addiction” is understood to mean excessive or pathological (pathological) sports. Those affected suffer from the internal compulsion to do sports. The idea of competition or performance are not necessarily the focus.

Compulsive exercise can be described as an abnormal behavior in which exercise is abused. Even in the event of illness, pain or injury, the training is “pulled through” without compromise and can be associated with serious health consequences.

Note Very many people have a great need for sport and intensive training. However, you are not dependent on it. Because: People who do sport regularly and passionately have - as a basis and prerequisite for this - generally a high level of commitment or self-commitment to sport. Only a very small proportion of all athletes can be described as “addicted to sports”.

What forms of “sports addiction” are there?

In principle, a distinction can be made between primary and secondary “sports addiction”.

Primary sports addiction

In the case of the primary "sports addiction", the sport is practiced because of the sport itself and not because one would like to lose weight through it. The exercise of sport is intrinsic, so to speak, that is, motivated from within.

Note The (primary) "sports addiction" is a behavioral addiction. There is no official definition, and there is also no recognized diagnosis of disease according to the criteria of ICD-11 or DSM-5.

Secondary sports addiction

The secondary “sports addiction” is understood to mean compulsive exercise in connection with an eating disorder. Those affected with a secondary "sports addiction" are less motivated to do sports because of their athletic performance, but rather factors such as calorie consumption and weight reduction are in the foreground.

Who is affected by "sports addiction"?

"Sports addicts" are more likely to be found in recreational and popular sports and increasingly in the endurance sector. In particular, the addiction to running (“running addiction”, “obligatory runners”) is often described. A conspicuous sports behavior can occur in all sports disciplines, in fitness and fun sports as well as in strength training.

When does the extent of sport become questionable?

An essential characteristic of "sports addiction" is that the urge to exercise can no longer be controlled by oneself. Sport becomes a central part of life. If you are not exercising, everything revolves around the sport. The training is sometimes planned and documented in detail, sports projects are organized and equipment such as shoes, shirts, etc. is piled up.

If the self-imposed exercise quota is not achieved, withdrawal symptoms such as feelings of guilt, fear, irritability and depression can even occur. The “sports addict” cannot compromise and has to live out the hobby at the expense of many other activities. As the workload gradually increases, family, friends and social contacts are neglected, sometimes even the job.

How does “sports addiction” develop?

The exact processes and explanatory patterns of “sports addiction” are the subject of scientific research, but much is still unexplored. Different mechanisms are still being discussed.

The body's own happiness hormones may contribute to the development of addiction. The reward system in the brain gets used to sport and demands more and more. Similar to a drug addiction, the dose must be gradually increased in order to experience a "high" ("high").

The motive structure is probably multi-layered: A possible motive for “sports addiction” could be the pursuit of a perfect body. The motif of escaping reality is also discussed, in which sinking into sport serves to forget everyday life. Another explanatory approach mentions possible self-esteem deficits, in which sport serves to compensate for frustration or failures as well as to increase self-confidence.

In addition, those affected can also “slide into” a “sport addiction”, although this is reversible. In this context it is referred to as the so-called “addiction bond model”. The starting point is the initially successful attachment to a sport, such as running. For example, an ambitious hobby runner can focus very strongly on the sport up to the climax of the competition season (sport focus phase). Once this highlight of the season is over, the focus on sport can return. In a phase of “sports addiction”, an athlete can get caught in a decisive life event (e.g. separation in a partnership or the death of a loved one), which can lead to the feeling of loss of control. Those affected believe that they can compensate for this imbalance through exercise.

Anorexia and sport ("Anorexia athletica")

A special form of anorexia, anorexia athletica (“sports anorexia”), must be distinguished from “sports addiction”. This is understood to be pathological underweight, which is observed in competitive sports, among other things. On the one hand, being underweight is a result of the high level of exercise and insufficient energy intake from food. On the other hand, the underweight is consciously accepted in order to achieve a better performance or class. Anorexia athletica is mainly observed in sports in which body weight plays an important role, such as judo, ski jumping, ballet and rowing.

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