Most women today believe that they can never be too thin or too rich. This attitude has led to an epidemic of eating disorders in young women. Many men have similar drives to become more muscular. Do you ever get the feeling that you're going to die if you can't do just one more
set of squats or curls? If so, you may be addicted to exercise. Addiction occurs in distance runners, bodybuilders and in women with eating disorders. Some runners become obligatory exercisers and will exercise even when severely over- trained and seriously injured.
Bodybuilders can develop a condition called muscle dimorphism, where they lift weights to excess because they perceive they have inferior physiques. Ohio State University researchers found that men who were most dissatisfied with their bodies were more likely to take anabolic steroids and overtrain. Women with eating disorders have a parallel condition called anorexia athietica, where they overtrain in an attempt to cut down on bodyweight.
One question for the psychologists: in bodybuilders, when does the quest to be a champion become a mental disorder? Obsessive people who win are called champions, while those who lose are called neurotic.