Over-Exercise Linked to Suicide in Those With Eating Disorders

Recent studies show that acquired capability for suicide, otherwise known as ACS, was found to be a factor in 70 percent of people with eating disorders who also over-exercise.

Hundreds of college-aged subjects have been studied, and the one common behavior between all of them with ACS was an over-indulgence in exercise. One study found that pain insensitivity was also prominent in the ACS/over-exercising individuals.

Over-exercising is a particularly dangerous activity for individuals in the throws of an eating disorder. The compulsion to over-exercise while starving the body of nutrients it needs to thrive leads to serious health problems, including amenorrhea, osteoporosis, bone fractures, arthritis, heart and reproductive problems and a host of other maladies.

But more dangerous than these long-term health issues are the suicidal tendencies these individuals are prone to having. Suicide attempts are common, with about a third of young women suffering from bulimia attempting suicide.

Women with ACS are able to withstand an amount of pain/harm that can lead to lethal consequences. Individuals who over-indulge in exercise are subjecting their bodies to an increasing amount of pain, to which the body can build up a tolerance. In a healthy individual, pain is an indicator of something gone wrong. Those with eating disorders develop a different response to it.

Subjects with eating disorders have a variety of practices associated with their disease, including the consumption of laxatives, vomiting or food restriction. But the one common predictor of ACS among these subjects was the commonality of their over-exercising.

Pain insensitivity was also very common in these subjects that over-exercised. Researchers are now asking health professionals to make sure their patients are aware of the dangers related to over-exercising, pain insensitivity and ACS.

Posted on June 3rd, 2013

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