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Exercise

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Exercise addiction can be one of the many symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, a condition in which a person becomes preoccupied with his or her physical appearance, especially any perceived flaws. Not all exercise addicts suffer from this disorder, but if the need to exercise is centered on perfecting one's physical appearance, there's sometimes a connection.

Exercise is a healthy activity, and even though not all of us engage in it, we all know the benefits. But for some, the need to break a sweat and work the body can turn from a healthy habit into a dangerous addiction.

Some people who are addicted to exercise actually experience withdrawal symptoms if they haven't exercised for a day or more. These symptoms include irritability, anxiety and even guilt for not hitting the gym. Usually these symptoms appear when the person is injured or is prevented from exercising for some reason that can't be controlled.

Exercise addicts make exercise a priority, even if it's not physically advisable (such as after an injury). They constantly feel the need to maintain a certain exercise regimen and can become stressed out of they don't feel they've exercised enough. Some might never feel satisfied with the amount of exercise they're doing.

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