Physical exercise dependence

des Universites, Praticien Hospitalier, AP-HP, H6pital Bichat, Service de Psychiatrie, France.
Revue médicale de Liège 01/2013; 68(5-6):331-9.
Source: PubMed


Socially valorised, sport like other forms of behaviour, can take on an addictive aspect. A review of the English and French literatures from 1979 to 2012 was conducted, using PubMed, Google Scholar, EMBASE, and PsycInfo, using the following key words alone or combined :sport, dependence, exercise, addiction. Exercise dependence is defined as a craving for physical activity that leads to extreme exercise intensity and generates physiological and psychological symptoms. Measurement scales have been proposed to make the diagnosis. No epidemiological studies have examined the prevalence of exercise dependence in the general population, although some studies suggest a frequency ranging from 10 to 80%. Disorders begin with a search for pleasure in physical effort, which then gives way to an obsession for sport resulting in a need to practice a sport more and more frequently and intensely. This addiction is more common among alcohol and illicit drug addicts than among the general population, while the rate of eating disorders can reach 40%. Personality traits most often associated are perfectionism, extraversion, and sensation seeking, while possible links between sporting activity and intensive doping will be discussed.

Download full-text


Available from: Aymeric Petit, Apr 30, 2014