A recent study in Bloomberg Businessweek suggests that former athletes are more prone to suffering from substance abuse, depression and eating disorders.
In a study published in March, one-third of elite athletes had “an unhealth preoccupation with training.” Research indicated that exercise was as addictive as heroin. Elite athletes who train so much during the season of their sport may find it very difficult to get out of that habit of continuous exercise. Factors such as competition, biological history, and the pressure to do well were also possible contributors to the risk of substance abuse in former athletes.
Nicole Detling, a visiting professor at the University of Utah College of Health calls this difficult transition time “Post-Olympics let-down.” Detling says, “within the time period following the Olympics, even those who’ve medaled have this period of time where if they were checked for depression, they’d be diagnosed.”
To help retiring atheletes cope with similar transitions, there will be seminars nationwide in the Australia following the London Olympics, according to consultant with the Australian Sports Commission Nathan Price.
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