At 39 weeks pregnant, a runner recently made national headlines following completion of a marathon. She ran 26.2 miles. Her doctor gave her permission to run an impressive 13.1 miles of the race, yet she opted to double her doctors orders. She ran the entire race and then embarked on her second endurance event of the day...childbirth. It was also the second marathon she completed during her pregnancy. Impressive? Compulsive?
Compulsive exercise is often overlooked in a health conscious society. Certainly, pregnant women are encouraged to exercise for maternal and fetal health. Doctors suggest that exercise is a 'good thing' on a regular basis for most men, women and children. Regular physical activity can reduce health risks and improve overall wellbeing. In moderation, exercise can even have a positive impact on troublesome anxiety and depression. However, for some individuals this 'good thing' can go wrong when done to excess.
Compulsive exercise can have adverse impacts on physical, social and emotional health. Physical activity ceases to be a good thing when it negatively impacts major aspects of life or hinders the use of other coping mechanisms. Compulsive exercisers often experience significant emotional disturbance if the schedule of activity is interrupted. They may experience withdrawal symptoms, as they have become addicted to the 'rush' of neurochemicals and the trance-like state that often accompanies intense activity. Withdrawal symptoms can include depression, anxiety, lethargy, irritability, insomnia, preoccupation with fitness or body weight, etc. Ironically, some of the symptoms of compulsive exercise can mimic those of withdrawal.
Compulsive exercisers may also find themselves struggling with physical overuse injuries and relationship underuse damage.
The roots of compulsive exercise are generally found in emotional and relational disturbance. Not surprisingly, compulsive exercise is also highly correlated with eating disorders, perfectionism and/or issues of self-control. Furthermore, relational avoidance can fuel the desire to workout. It is hard to devote energy to the sometimes strenuous work of emotional intimacy if adhering to a time consuming workout schedule. The next athletic achievement may cost more than just running shoes or a gym membership. It may cost a loving and gentle relationship with self and family.
Like other addictions, behavioral intervention and trauma resolution are helpful in addressing issues related to compulsive exercise. Physical activity can be a component of optimal living if done in moderation. In combination with other healthy coping skills, exercise can be a complement to sober living. Trama resolution therapies can address the core issues leading to behaviors of excess. Resolving intensity and moderation issues can restore the spontaniety and 'good things' to exercise...sobriety, good health and joy.
Anne Brown, a primary counselor at The Meadows since 2008, has a master's degree in counseling from Johns Hopkins University; she specializes in treating sex addiction, co-sex addiction, eating disorders, co-dependency, and the underlying trauma issues of addiction. She has been working in the counseling field since 1999.
Anne completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at the University of Maryland.
She then went on to receive an MS in counseling at Johns Hopkins University. In 1994, Anne began her career in the mental health industry working with adolescents in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1999, she began work in the addictions field as an individual and group counselor working in residential, hospital and outpatient settings.
Free Lecture Series - Dallas, Texas - April 19, 2011
Suzanne Wallace, LCDC, CSAT, will be speaking at the Dallas Free Lecture on April 19, 2011, at the Unity Church of Dallas, Sanctuary, 6525 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230 from 7:00-8:30 pm.
The title of the presentation is "What's Love Got to Do With It? Obsession, Compulsion, Addiction". Love is a normal desire that when not met, approximately early in our childhood can create reactionary distortions for individuals. This lecture will focus on what is appropriate, what is distorted, and the effects of each on people. Attendees will learn how to know what healthy love is, to identify obsession, compulsion, and addiction, and to know what is necessary to move into a place of openness to experience healthy love.
If you have questions, please contact Texas Community Relations Representative, Betty Ewing Dicken, at 800-892-7799 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Victoria Munoz, M.C., LPC, Counselor at The Meadows of Wickenburg
Is pornography causing problems in your relationship? Does your partner disapprove of your pornography use? Have you found that you prefer pornography to intimacy with your partner? Pornography, specifically Internet pornography, can have detrimental effects in a person's life. Although our culture has often said, "Boys will be boys," the Internet makes pornography available 24 hours a day. It is affordable, often anonymous, and endless in its supply. As a result, many people have found themselves using pornography compulsively. You may find that you are using it more than intended, needing more to get desired effects, using it to relieve stress, and using it despite negative life consequences. In addition to the problems Internet pornography may be causing your relationship, it may be causing work and legal problems as well. You are not alone, and there is help.
The compulsive use of Internet pornography is treatable. You may find yourself unable to discontinue your use of pornography alone, and perhaps it is time to consider treatment. Maybe you are seeking treatment at the urging of someone you love, maybe you have long known that you have a problem, or maybe you are fearful of where your behavior is taking you on the Internet.
In treatment you can explore the questions: "How did this happen to me?" "What role does Internet porn play in my life?" "Why is my continued use of Internet porn no longer serving me as it once seemed to?" In addition, you can look at patterns you have developed to numb or escape from daily life. In treatment you can become free of this compulsive behavior; by exploring family-of-origin and adult patterns, you can identify how and why pornography has been so alluring to you. You do not have to continue living with feelings of shame and despair. There is a solution.