Exercise Addiction and Major Depressive Disorder – Clinical Diagnoses and Longitudinal Course

Document Type : Short Communication(s)


1 Medizinische Fakultät, Universität Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 61, 4052 Basel

2 Universitären Psychiatrischen Kliniken, Universität Basel, Wilhelm Klein Strasse 27, 4002 Basel

3 Institut für Psychologie, Universität Bern, Fabrikstrasse 8, 3012 Bern

4 Departement Gesundheitswissenschaften und Medizin, Universität Luzern, Forhburgstrasse 3, 6002 Luzern



Background: People at risk of exercise addiction report increased symptoms of psychopathology. The aim of this study was to 
clinically assess the lifetime prevalence of depressive disorders in individuals at risk of exercise addiction and to determine whether 
depressive symptoms tend to precede or follow excessive exercising.

Methods: Based on the Exercise Dependence Scale-21, a total of 31 individuals categorized at risk of exercise addiction underwent 
the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 to assess major depressive disorder (MDD).

Findings: The results showed 16 of the 31 participants suffered from MDD. The onset of MMD occurred in 10 participants after 
excessive exercising and in 5 before excessive exercising. In one participant, the symptom onset was unclear.

Conclusion: MDD is far more prevalent in patients with exercise addiction compared to the general population and develops more 
often after the beginning of exercise addiction. Caution in the use of exercise to treat depression may be warranted


Amos Tschopp: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Maximillian Meyer: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Isabel Sattler: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Marc Walter: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)

Flora Colledge: (Google Scholar) (PubMed)


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