- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006


First it was anorexia. Then came the obesity epidemic. Now the latest danger: exercise addiction.

“Exercise addiction has features much like drug addiction because it raises endorphin levels,” said Edward Cumella, director of research and education at Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating Disorders in Arizona. “Patients may experience feelings of well-being, but with decreased awareness of emotional and physical pain and the serious and possibly permanent health problems arising from their behavior.”

Remuda Ranch said many people with exercise addiction (EA) do not think they have a problem.

“The difference between healthy exercise habits and EA is a compulsion to exercise,” Mr. Cumella said. “By exercising, those suffering from EA reduce their anxiety about being or becoming overweight, body dissatisfactions and appearance concerns.”

The greatest risk groups, he said, appear to include athletes in sports encouraging thinness or appearance standards, young and middle-aged women and young men. EA sometimes is associated with eating disorders.

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