Find support for Exercise Addiction

Each day, 56.2% of all adults in the United Kingdom participate in a form of exercise. Recommended by medical professionals across the world, exercise comes hand-in-hand with many physical and psychological health benefits, such as reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and enhanced mental health.

While the majority of individuals that exercise frequently do so in a beneficial way, approximately one in 200 people struggle with an exercise addiction.

Though exercise addictions are yet to be classed as a psychological or behavioural disorder, exercise addiction treatment & rehab must be secured when an individual develops an unhealth relationship with exercise.

Exercise Addictions Explained

Exercise addictions arise when an individual feels an uncontrollable urge to exercise numerous times a day or for long periods at a time. As exercise releases feel-good hormones such as endorphins, a euphoric sensation that is often referred to as “runners high” is achieved.

Defined as an intense feeling of joy following exercise, “runners high” gradually causes the brain to associate exercise with an enhanced mood.  When this enhanced mood wears off, individuals are often left craving their next fix.  In a bid to experience the euphoric sensations once again, many give in to impulsive behaviours that see them compelled to exercise.

As addictions can be life-threatening, exercise addictions must be diagnosed by medical professionals, such as psychologists, to ensure that exercise addiction treatment & rehab can be secured.  Without appropriate support, exercise addictions can lead to a plethora of long-term health complications, including heart damage, joint pain, insomnia, and poor mental health.

Signs and Symptoms of An Exercise Addiction

Individuals struggling with exercise addictions will encounter several signs and symptoms that essentially indicate that exercise addiction treatment & rehab is required.  These signs and symptoms can be physical, psychological, and behavioural.

Although the signs and symptoms experienced greatly differ, the most common signs of exercise addiction include:

  • Feeling a burning desire to exercise more frequently
  • Craving the euphoric sensations that exercise provides
  • Exercising more to feel the desired sensations
  • Continuing to exercise even if an injury has been sustained
  • Avoiding usual commitments to spend time exercising
  • Inability to control thoughts and urges to exercise

In addition, it is not uncommon to experience insomnia, depression, burnout, and anxiety when an exercise addiction arises.

Causes Of Exercise Addiction

Many factors contribute to the probability that an individual will develop an exercise addiction at some point during their life.

However, mental health disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are frequently associated with exercise addiction.  This is because social pressure and unrealistic body standards have seen the number of individuals struggling with body image disorders soar.

Trauma relating to health complications can also give way to exercise addictions, as can bereavements caused by physical health problems.

Regardless of the cause of exercise addictions, exercise addiction treatment & rehab is widely available.

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Exercise Addiction Treatment

At Asana Lodge, we provide exercise addiction treatment & rehab on an inpatient basis.  Focusing on healing the body and mind in a relaxing environment, our treatment options cater to the addiction recovery needs of each individual that secures treatment with us.

Our exercise addiction treatment & rehab options include, but are not limited to, the following:

To ensure that treatment is effective, we equip each of our clients with a personalised treatment programme.  These programmes are created by our team of medical and therapy professionals.

Irrespective of the treatment incorporated into our personalised treatment programmes, we ensure that our clients have the support and care they need at all times.

Through the employment of the treatments noted above, our clients have the opportunity to determine the root cause of their exercise addiction.  In doing so, coping strategies can be developed to guarantee that urges to exercise can be overcome as and when they arise.  Essentially, this reduces the risk of relapse and guarantees that a long-term recovery can be secured.

As exercise addictions are often experienced alongside mental health disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and trauma, at Asana Lodge, dual diagnosis treatment is also available.  Dual diagnosis treatment simultaneously treats addictions and mental health disorders by employing several therapies to ensure that both can be overcome.

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If you have any questions surrounding exercise addiction treatment or would like to refer a loved one for treatment, please reach out today.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An Exercise Addiction?

An exercise addiction is a behavioural addiction that causes uncontrollable urges to exercise to impair an individual’s everyday life. Although exercising has many physical and psychological health benefits, when an exercise addiction is present, those struggling will experience intrusive thoughts that see them compelled to exercise vigorously.

Who Is More Likely To Suffer From An Exercise Addiction?

Just as many other behavioural addictions can impair individuals from all walks of life, exercise addictions can too. However, research highlights that 3% of individuals that frequently go to the gym are at greater risk of struggling with an exercise addiction. Additionally, those who compete in sports, such as athletes and marathon runners, are more likely to develop exercise addictions. Studies also suggest that individuals who have recovered from substance addictions, or other behavioural addictions are also thought to be at greater risk of struggling with an exercise addiction.

Is Exercise Addiction Treatment & Rehab Effective?

Exercise addiction treatment & rehab remains one of the most effective treatments for exercise addictions. This is because exercise addiction treatment & rehab treats the underlying causes of exercise addiction. For example, when an exercise addiction arises from an eating disorder, treatment provided helps those struggling overcome eating disorders, challenge negative behaviours and develop coping strategies that ensure they can control compulsive behaviours that see them feed their exercise addiction.


John Gillen - Author - Last Updated: 3 August 2021

John has travelled extensively around the world, culminating in 19 years’ experience looking at different models. He is the European pioneer of Nad+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide) treatment to Europe in 2010; and recently back from the USA bringing state of the art Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention and stress reduction therapy. his passion extends to other metabolic disturbances and neurodegenerative diseases.

The journey continues, in recent times john has travelled to Russia to study and research into a new therapy photobiomudulation or systemic laser therapy working with Nad+ scientists and the very best of the medical profession in the UK and the USA, together with Nadcell, Bionad Clinics own select Doctors, nurses, dieticians and therapists, Johns’ passion continues to endeavour to bring to the UK and Europe new developments with Nad+ therapy in preventive and restorative medicine and Wellness. In 2017 John Gillen was made a visiting Professor at the John Naisbitt university in Belgrade Serbia.

Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist) - Clinical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 18/02/2022 1:00 pm

MBBS, PG Dip Clin Ed, OA Dip CBT, OA Dip Psychology, SCOPE Certified

Dr Lapa graduated in Medicine in 2000 and since this time has accrued much experience working in the widest range of psychiatric settings with differing illness presentations and backgrounds in inpatient, community and secure settings. This has been aligned to continuation of professional development at postgraduate level in clinical research which has been very closely related to the everyday clinical practice conducted by this practitioner as a NHS and Private Psychiatrist.
He is fully indemnified by the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) and MIAB Expert Insurance for Psychiatric and Private Medical practice. He is fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK with a licence to practice.

Dr Lapa is approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act (1983)

Member of Independent Doctors Federation (IDF), British Association for Psychopharmacology (BMA) and The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO)

Dr Lapa’s extensive experience has also concentrated on the following areas of clinical practice:
– Assessment, Diagnosis and Pharmacological Treatment for Adults with ADHD.
– Drug and Alcohol Dependency and maintaining abstinence and continued recovery
– Intravenous and Intramuscular Vitamin and Mineral Infusion Therapy
– Dietary and Weight Management and thorough care from assessment to treatment to end goals and maintenance
– Aesthetic Practice and Procedures