If you work out constantly yet never feel you’ve done enough, you may be struggling with a serious addiction.

Vigorous physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you’re spending hours every day at the gym, track or court and still feel the urge to exercise more, your strenuous routine may be leading to something more serious.

In our appearance-conscious society, we often feel intense pressure to maintain a lean, muscular body. We may also enjoy the energy boost we feel after a workout, often referred to as “runner’s high.” Yet we need to watch for signs that exercise is becoming a dangerous obsession that we can’t control.

If you are concerned that you someone you care about is dealing with exercise addiction, now is the time to find professional help.


Exercise addiction affects hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and across the globe. It is a behavioral disorder that belongs to a group of conditions known as process addictions. These addictions include binge eating, sex and love addiction, compulsive shopping, gambling and more.

Researchers have found that for many people, exercise addiction is paired with an eating disorder. The condition may also be linked with trauma, PTSD and other mental health conditions.

How can you tell if your healthy exercise habit has become an unhealthy obsession? Here are some warning signs that you or someone you care about may be dealing with exercise addiction.

• You feel you MUST work out constantly to feel happy and healthy. Skipping even one workout just isn’t an option.

• If something does keep you from working out, you feel irritable, anxious, agitated or sad.

• You work out even when you are sick or exhausted.

• Exercise has become a way to escape your troubles or get away from people and situations that stress you out.

• Your workout routine is causing problems in your closest relationships. For example, your spouse or partner feels s/he can’t get enough time with you because you’re always at the gym.

• Other priorities in your life are suffering. For example, you are missing deadlines at work or devoting very little time to family and friends.

• Your happiness now seems to depend on the outcome of your latest workout. Did you run enough miles? Lift enough pounds? Did you hit your target heart rate?

• You often extend your workouts, adding extra hours, extra reps and extra moves.

• You continually push yourself to exercise more, even if you don’t have a specific training goal in mind.

• You feel compelled to work out, but you don’t find it fun anymore.

If you are dealing with one or more of these symptoms, it’s time for you to consider the possibility that your exercise routine has turned into an addiction.


Find out now
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Decades of research have confirmed that all addictions are brain-based disorders, as real as any other kind of health problem. This means that exercise addiction is a serious condition that requires professional treatment.

Although we don’t know everything about the causes of exercise addiction, studies have shown that:

• People may inherit the tendency to suffer from process addictions such as exercise addiction.

• People who grew up around others who worked out constantly, or suffered from other mental health conditions such as binge eating, anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa, may face higher risks for exercise addiction.

• People who have suffered trauma such as violence, abuse, serious accidents, assault, rape or war may be more likely to suffer changes in brain function that may lead to exercise addiction.

• Acute stress such as losing a loved one or surviving a terrible disaster may lead people to focus on one behavior as a coping mechanism. This can lead to exercise addiction and other obsessive patterns.


We are ready to help you
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Fortunately, the answer is yes. Millions of people have struggled with exercise addiction, yet with the right treatment and support, they have found the strength and skills they need to recover and rebuild their lives.

The SunCloud Health team has successfully treated thousands of men and women facing process addictions, including exercise addiction. We are ready to work with you and your loved ones to help you understand what is happening and embrace the learning process that will help you recover.

No two people struggling exercise addiction are exactly the same. This is why we follow an integrated, highly personalized approach that sees you as a whole individual with a unique life story. The SunCloud Health team will treat you as a full partner in your own care. We will walk the road with you, offering you the therapeutic services and support you need to overcome your addiction.

There are many advantages to receiving care in an outpatient setting. SunCloud Health offers you a range of outpatient options, including intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) at our Chicago and suburban locations.


Contact us now
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


The SunCloud Health team will work closely with you to develop a full understanding of your addiction and the life circumstances that surround it. We know it is not uncommon for people to deal with more than one issue at the same time – for example, exercise addiction and eating disorders. If you are dealing with more than one mental health issue, you may have heard the terms dual diagnosis, co-occurring condition or co-morbid condition used to describe your situation.

Once we know more about your life story and your current needs, our addiction experts will work with you to create an individualized course of treatment. Your care plan may include:

• Immediate help with withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, agitation, panic or anger

• Counseling or “talk therapy” that focuses on your unique needs. This may involve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectic behavioral therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) or other forms of therapy.

• Family and social support to surround you with encouragement and resources for recovery.

• Group therapy that taps the tremendous power of peer support in helping you move forward.

• Education that enables you to see your addiction in context and empowers you with new skills and abilities.

• Medications, if appropriate, that will help manage your symptoms and enable you to participate more fully in the recovery process.

• Yoga, meditation and other relaxation techniques that can help you deal with the urge to work out constantly, empowering you to choose a more balanced lifestyle.


Find effective treatment now
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Your journey toward wellness is an ongoing process of growth and insight. As you move into treatment for exercise addiction, you will see that recovery is not a straight path. There will be challenges along the way – but with the support of your care team, family and friends, you will move forward with confidence.

Your SunCloud Health care team will provide the therapeutic care and resources you need to adopt a healthy, balanced attitude toward physical activity. As you gain new perspective and skills, we will be here support your progress.


Contact us for your first appointment
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Emily Long discusses how patients benefit from an integrative treatment approach and how that contributes to a more effective treatment experience at SunCloud Health.


As an outpatient treatment center, SunCloud Health is in an ideal position to support you for as long as you agree our services are useful to you. With multiple levels of outpatient care, you may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists.  We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your recovery journey.
Though we understand fully that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is the foundation of your well-being over the long term. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.


Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP shares her thoughts on hope for recovery at SunCloud Health.

The treatment team at SunCloud gets it. They practice what they preach, they are compassionate and they are true professionals.  They all understand what I am going through and they have guided me from a hopeless place of disease to recovery and a life worth living.  Most importantly they have helped me realize that I am worth something and that I don’t have to use in order to cope with life and all that comes with it.  Recovery can be amazing.  Trust me.  The work is not easy and it is totally worth it!   Today I am alive.

~ SCH patient