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Do people with eating disorders become addicted to exercise?

The severity of the disorder eating will determine whether or not someone becomes addicted to exercise. Someone with minimal disordered eating issues could gain self-esteem and self-confidence from exercise in an uncontrolled environment. Controlled exercise (monitored by a healthcare professional) is good for someone who has a intermediate to extreme eating disorder. One of the biggest components of an eating disorder are addictive, unhealthy behaviors and if left alone to decide how much exercise is enough, someone with an eating disorder will choose too much. In disordered eating the challenge for that person involved is not in the food and not in the addiction but in the sense of control which can surface around food, sport and exercise. In a controlled setting, it is important for professionals to focus on and understand how to promote proper nutritional practices, focus on fitness not body weight, be sensitive to weight issues and promote healthy management of weight.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.