The potential for “good” addictions. Don’t be fooled. 

12/13/2020

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Smoking, drinking, drugs: we all know that these addictions are dangerous. What many of us fail to see is that other things that might seem positive, can be addictions. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but there are some which people don’t notice until they are too late.


Exercise 


We are all well aware that we should be getting at least 150 minutes of rigorous exercise per week. It’s great to get a bit of fresh air and flex some under-worked muscles. Feeling the buzz of a good burn can be a very refreshing feeling – however, it is also one that can lead to addiction. There’s a very fine line between maintaining a healthy regime and becoming a fanatic. 


You might be asking why this is bad. Let us explain. Overdoing exercises is like anything else. It puts wear and tear on the body. You want to be keeping flexibility and strength, not reducing it. Some common injuries from too much exercise include muscle tears, dislocations, soft tissue damage and ligament strain. These can be considerably painful on there own, and once addicted, many people cannot differentiate the difference between post-workout burn and actually pain. There are also long term concerns. 


Over-exerting yourself in multiple workouts or in the number of work outs you do could actually undo the results you worked hard to get. But that is not the worst of it. It could damage your heart and arteries, lead to injuries, and make you addicted so that the cycle continues. The competitive nature (even with yourself) can lead to extending beyond the useful push limit. That extra set of reps or extra calorie burned can snowball, and often comes hand in hand with tracking addictions like anorexia.


This does not mean that you should stop exercising. Simply that you should follow government guidelines and listen to health professionals like your GP, personal trainer or physiotherapist.


Calorie based diets


Everyone know that if you are in a calorific deficit then you’ll lose weight, that means taking in less than you use. Aside from the more obvious addiction risks here like anorexia or bulimia, there are some trends that are associated with calorie based weight loss which are damaging, potentially addictive and sneak in surprisingly easily.


One problem is never giving yourself a break. It might feel nice and you might be proud of yourself when you regularly achieve a calorie goal. However, if you run under your maintenance calories every day you will stop losing weight. This is because your body becomes used to it, and reprograms to expect it, meaning that you have to take in even less. It’s a slippery slope. 


Modern research also finds that the type of food we consume and how regularly has a bigger impact. So, if you want to avoid addiction to calories counting, remember, they are only a guide and you need to break the chain to avoid addiction to this obsessive and unproductive cycle. 


Water


On a similar vein, we all need 2 litres a day, and maybe a lot more depending on our stature. Over hydration is caused by taking in too many fluids, and can lead to water intoxication – which is as nasty as it sounds. It occurs when the amount of salt and other electrolytes in your body become too diluted, because we do actually need some salt. This is why sodium (a key component in table salt) has a fugue above 0 in our recommended daily allowances. 
Quitting smoking, drinking or medication 


Naturally, it’s great if you can steer away from these things, but it is a process that you need to do slowly. Don’t get addicted to the thrill and reward of going cold turkey as it may put you at serious risk. When giving up a substance the body can panic, either tricking you to switch it for another addiction (like ex smokers with food) or putting you in withdrawal and shock. With medication and non-prescription drugs, this can be fatal. Don’t get addicted to cutting things out quickly. Consult a doctor and take baby steps. It’ll be much safer.


There you have it. Three things you might thing are great, but like everything else, need to be understood and acted on in moderation.