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What Are The Treatments for Anorexia Athletica?

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Anorexia athletica is a condition characterized by a compulsion for exercise – which may or may not be accompanied by under-eating or an obsession with food and dieting.

Unlike anorexia, anorexia athletica tends to revolve around the idea of performance – not necessarily body image – which is why many athletes are prone to the condition.

A person with the disorder feels the need to exercise frequently and intensely. This is usually done in order to maintain a caloric deficit, or in some cases, to counteract food binges or eating in general.

The treatments for anorexia athletica are similar to those that address other eating disorders, which tend to include therapies for both the body and mind.

Behavioral therapy or counseling

Anorexia athletica is considered a mental health disorder, which means that its patterns and manifestations are rooted in thought and behavior. Treating the condition, therefore, will usually involve some type of counseling, like psychotherapy, behavioral therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

What's important for recovery is getting at the root emotional issues or thought patterns that are causing the unhealthy behaviors, which may be accomplished in a one-on-one setting or in a support group with other people who have the condition.

Diet, nutrition and fitness

Since anorexia athletica can cause extreme damage to the body – muscle wasting, malnutrition and even cardiovascular problems – treatment will also tend to include dietary therapies. Certain supplements or vitamins may also be required to restore a person to good health.

Meal planning, calorie consumption and the balance of energy expenditure (calories in versus calories out) will all be important things to master.

The person may also need to work with a personal trainer or fitness specialist to come up with a plan for exercising in a healthy way – without overdoing it.

Stress management

Since anorexia athletica may be somewhat rooted in stress – which a person then relieves with excessive exercise – learning how to manage stress might also be a part of the treatment plan.

Finding other healthy ways to deal with stress that don't tax the body can be important for long-term recovery.

If a person with anorexia athletica is also dealing with behaviors related to binge eating or bulimia, these issues may also need separate interventions or can become part of the overall treatment process.

To learn more about anorexia athletica, consult this symptoms list.

Source: Kid's Health, Montecatini

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