Eating disorders are a form of addiction that cause people to look dangerously thin or overweight. Less known is the addiction to maintaining a toned physique that suggests a career in bodybuilding or fitness modeling, which can sometimes be powered by the use of dangerous steroid drugs or unhealthy frequency of working out. If the idea of an addiction to exercise is foreign to you, I will unpack what this could look like briefly. If you attend a gym regularly, you see the men and women who very obviously spend a lot of time toning their bodies, which could even be you. Fitness is a very healthy habit that many people partake in daily. But, there are times that an unhealthy addiction can form in seek of acceptance, success in competition or feeding of a body image disorder (similar to that of eating disorders). This addiction, although rooted in a healthy habit, can be extremely dangerous to a person’s body. Despite the risk, someone with a body image addiction may look in the mirror and see a scrawny person when you see what looks like an Olympic body builder. Or, maybe, someone looks in the mirror and see an overweight individual, besides the fact that they are dangerously thin. In order to fix the ‘problem’ they will spend hours in the gym breaking down their bodies and pushing themselves past a healthy limit.
Some seek dangerous anabolic steroids, drugs that artificially build up muscles and can cause major issues with “most of the major organs, the reproductive system, the personality, the skin, and more.” If you have ever been around someone who uses steroids and other artificial drugs, you know the warning signs and extreme behavior modification that occurs.
I am not saying that habitually working out qualifies as addiction, as someone who works out six days a week – I understand the fitness lifestyle. But, there is a point where people make unhealthy choices because of an underlying issue that takes the face of exercise or body building addiction. Like any addiction, this form is usually rooted in an unhealthy stronghold that occurs mentally and emotionally within a person to have an unhealthy tendency towards anything. This is why it is so important to seek professional treatment or counseling. Often times, people try to fix it on their own by just stopping the action. Unfortunately, there is usually a mental or emotional challenge that if not overcome, will result in the same addiction activities, disallowing the person from ever getting truly clean.
If you know someone who struggle with body image, steroid/drug use or fitness addiction, encourage them to seek help or give them information about a residential rehabilitation or counseling facility they can pursue when they’re ready to get clean.