The Symptoms of Runner’s Withdrawal: When You GO From Happy Feet to A Sad Panda

**Before I even go on, I’m going to remind readers that I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be be one. I am not qualified to diagnose mental or physical illnesses. If you need further clarification on this, refer back to the disclosure page. If you need additional clarification, leave a comment.

I haven’t been running for almost a whole week since that last brutal run through the freezing rain. It was a well timed break because most of the last week has been spent making preparations for my fundraiser for Operation Home Front. However, last night I actually experienced physical pain in my legs. I joked around at work that I’m experiencing “runner’s withdraw” and that running has turned into my drug of choice.

Then, I did a brief amount of research into the topic, and it turns out that running can be a REAL addiction. There have been numerous studies done on the topic. After reading some of these articles, I am starting to feel as though I may have a small addiction to running. The following is a list of possible symptoms someone can experience when not running for a period of time.

Have you gone over the edge?

Rate yourself as honestly as you can below with the following checklist:

I have missed important social obligations and family events in order to exercise.
I have given up other interests, including time with friends, in order to make more time to work out.
Missing a workout makes me irritable and depressed.
I only feel content when I am exercising or within the hour after exercising.
I like exercise better than sex, good food, or a movie — in fact there’s almost nothing I’d rather do.
I work out even if I’m sick, injured, or exhausted. I’ll feel better when I get moving anyway.
In addition to my regular schedule, I’ll exercise more if I find extra time.
Family and friends have told me I’m too involved in exercise.
I have a history (or a family history) of anxiety or depression.

If you have checked three or more of these items, you may be losing your perspective on running and working out. Exercise is healthy as long as it is in balance with a full life. Speak with a mental health professional or your doctor for help.

(Sharon Stoliaroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Chevy Chase, MD, developed this checklist.)

Here’s a link to the original article that provided this list; http://www.active.com/running/Articles/Know_the_signs_of_unhealthy_exercise_addiction

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