Exercise dependence - symptoms and mechanisms
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Psychiatr Pol 2012;46(5):845-856
The aim of this article is to synthesise the knowledge about the phenomenon of exercise dependence (ED), which is now characterised by an obsessive preoccupation with exercise, negative in nature. ED could be operationalized as a multidimensional maladaptive pattern of exercise, leading to clinically impairment or distress. Its criteria are: tolerance, withdrawal effects, lack of control, reductions in other activities, impaired psychological, social or physical functioning. For primary ED, the physical activity is an end in itself; for secondary ED, motivation is extrinsic - to control or alter body mass and shape. Estimates of the prevalence of ED range from 2-3% to 20-30%. Hypotheses of ED development concentrate on beta-endorphin, sympathetic arousal, affect regulation or some psychological explanations (e.g. exercise as distractor).
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