Almost a year ago, the final Harry Potter book hit the shelves. Fans dressed in elaborate costumes, waving wands and uttering strange incantations crammed themselves excitedly into Barnes & Nobles and Borders throughout the world, awaiting the arrival of their pre-ordered prize. The book, all 784 pages, was gobbled up immediately, and the literary love affair with Harry quickly ended, leaving many readers depressed and leading one group of researchers to announce that Harry Potter in all of his magical glory was addictive.
According to the survey of 4,000 fans, conducted by a professor and two undergraduates at Muhlenberg College, 10 percent of Harry Potter fanatics showed signs of addiction. They devoted more than four hours a day to wizard-related activities, noted interferences with their appetite and sleep patterns, logged less exercise time and experienced a lesser sense of well-being after closing the final book. Essentially, they went through withdrawal.
We can take from this study one of two things. Either health professionals have a bit too much time on their hands and may harbor a Harry Potter addiction themselves, or it is entirely possible to become hooked on something that you wouldn’t assume is addictive, such as Harry Potter . . . or food and exercise.
Food and exercise are two things that we need – two things that we urge everyone to get an ample amount of, but sometimes that encouragement spurs an obsession. The hooked athlete schedules his life around his exercise. He is convinced that if 30 minutes equals health, two hours equals four times the health. He runs or bikes or lifts compulsively, unable to be happy if he hasn’t seen a drop of sweat all day. Similarly, the food addict is driven by food. He lacks self-control, eats compulsively, uses meals to find pleasure or comfort and often feels guilty after eating. His weight and what goes into his body interferes with his regular life. Nothing can go right if there’s no hope for food in sight.
If you or someone you know has shown signs of an exercise or food addiction, it’s important that help is sought. A medical professional, a trainer or a nutritionist can help get the obsession under control and turn a negative into a positive. You need exercise in your life. You need food in your life. Maybe, you need Harry Potter in your life. But no single thing should consume your life.
- Image Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org