Are Healthy Addictions OK?

I accept the fact that I have an addictive personality, and have dealt with addictions to a number of things throughout my life. My two most damaging have been alcohol, and food, and the latter is one that I continue to battle. 

I find it a little puzzling though, how to deal with addictions that are to healthy things. Before my arthritis became bad I had developed a bit of an addiction to exercise, and was running up to ten miles a day. If I didn't manage at least seven in a day then I would fall into a funk. Though I've never experienced it, health food addictions (such as orthorexia) must fall into this category too. 

How do you feel about addictions such as these, and how would you handle them if they cropped up?
  • 18 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Although exercise is truly beneficial to us, excessive exercise is never ideal. Let's just put it this way, too much of everything won't do good to anyone. I believe there's some sort of limitation to everything that we do, and just because exercising is a healthy habit doesn't mean you should overdo it

  • When a problem truly becomes an addiction, I don't believe that there is any such thing as just using or doing it in moderation. By that time you can't help overdoing it, because by definition you already are. Are you able to recognise when you are beginning to develop new, damaging behaviour? I appear to not be able to recognise it until it's already too late. 
  • i do feel you can learn to recognize when you are acting on an addiction....learn to do a check every so often...like for me, i can get on some new hobby or something and go to town...and be enjoying it, but at the same time feel tense and want to do it all the time...

    i am learning to check myself weekly...like mentally reviewing how my days are spent...did i act on some sort of addiction? food? hobby? etc?

    hope you can learn to manage this!
  • I think it depends... if you don't end up over doing it then it's ok; the start of a really healthy and nice habit. But if you start over doing it, then of course is not going to be good for you.  But to be honest I think you'd need to be exercising too often and too much in order for this to be considered excessive. Don't worry about it unless you start to show clear symptoms. 
  • The simple term addiction in itself indicates some level of problematic relationship with something. Yes, even if the behavior is one that people would deem healthy (ie. exercise, as you mentioned) it can still be taken to extremes and that's where the problem lies. I think if it's getting in the way of a normal life and normal relationships that's when I would be concerned.
  • I think it's alright up to a certain point if the addiction is towards something good, but if it gets in the way of other things like paying attention to your loved ones then it starts to get worrying. I have family who I would say are addicted to going to church and other related activities and even though it looks fine on the surface I notice they don't talk to their children as much as they should and they always prioritize church over anything else at the expense of financial and emotional support for their young ones. As long as you are not too detached from reality and your priorities are in order I think there's not much harm.
  • Certainly, my exercising has never caused me to neglect my family, but it has led to me neglecting my other personal needs. It got bad enough at one point that I'd even be running on the spot when peeling the potatoes, or washing the dishes. I just could not stand still, or rest, and that meant that even of an evening when I'd been on the go all day, I'd work out at night until just before I went to bed. I fully accept that what I was doing was excessive. 
  • It's not all about body health. It's about a healthy mind in a healthy body, because if you're not sane, it's obvious that your body won't be in a good shape as well. Any kind of addiction alters how the brain works and an individual's perspective on reality. It makes them not be themselves anymore, and losing your personality is worse than your body being in an unhealthy condition.
  • I'm not sure that it's fair to claim that a person who is in the grips of an addiction such as a food or exercise addiction is not 'sane'. As a person who has long suffered from mental health problems, sanity is a strong measure and one that could hurt a person who is in a more sensitive part of their journey, so it might be worth considering a different phraseology. 
  • It makes no difference what the addiction is, if it affects your day to day life then it's clearly a problem. Doesn't matter if it concerns something that is perceived to be healthy at all. 

    I've got to say though, despite being "insane", I'm in damn good shape!
  • There are so many good things to get addicted to - music, a specific healthy food, art, photography, etc. But I do agree that just because it is healthy, it doesn't mean that it can't be detrimental. Balance and moderation is really the key to a healthy and happy life.
  • Addiction is something that people tend to use for negative things, but yeah I guess you can use the term for positive things as well. I'm addicted to gym, I just enjoy lifting more and more heavy weights everyday.
  • Any kind of addictions are not good in my theory. Yes there are some good things to get in the habit of like drinking plenty of water, but to the point of addictions to over drinking and drowning yourself, no.
  • It's still an addiction, and it probably will affect some aspects of your life such as convivence and as you've said, sometimes it actually be bad for your health. I think that a similar thing happens with people who have a gambling addiction but they think that it's okay.
  • Addiction cannot be good. You depend on something and that is the not good thing. I run a lot but I know when to stop, to make a break and to rest. This is very important for your heart that is also a muscle and the one that is working when all others are resting. Think about it. Even professionals have rest days.
  • In my opinion anything that is in excess is not good, even if it's an harmless thing. We need to drink plenty of water to live but if you drink too much you can actually die. From water. This is just an example, but I think we need to measure what we do in order not to abuse, since the simplest of things can be harmful to you.
  • There is no such thing as a healthy addiction. If it is healthy behaviour, it is not an addiction. If you even ask this question you need to revisit how you are defining addiction.
  • Healthy addiction? What did you mean by that? Any compulsive dependency on a substance or behaviour is termed as addiction. This can't be healthy. If you really think that you are addicted to something, then you should treat that. :)

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