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The Unhealthy Side of Mind-Body Interaction: Anorexia Athletica


Yoga and meditative practices encourage the connection of the mind and the body to create a state of understanding and acceptance.

But when that connection gets out of hand, it can be twisted to produce anorexia athletica, an eating disorder that stems not so much from appearance as from physical performance.

Symptoms of Anorexia Athletica

Anorexia athletica occurs when an individual commits him or herself to far too much exercise at the expense of other activities and at the expense of his or her health. Most common in athletes, anorexia athletica includes the following symptoms:

  • Obsessive or compulsive dieting
  • Dissatisfaction with athletic accomplishments
  • Mood swings
  • Secret dieting, refusal to eat in front of teammates

Many individuals with anorexia athletica will try to hide their symptoms, or brush it off as one of the effects of athletics. But anorexia athletica is just as dangerous as other types of eating disorders and should not be swept under the rug.

Health Effects

Anorexia athletica affects a wide range of physiological functions. Women may experience the “Female Athlete Triad,” which is the combination of an eating disorder, osteoporosis and cessation of menstruation.

Stress fractures are more likely to occur due to the repetitive movements required in exercise. And as with other eating disorders, there are adverse effects on heart, brain, liver and kidney functioning.

Treating Anorexia Atheletica

There are a number of different treatment options available for people suffering from anorexia athletica, depending on their circumstances. Some residential programs specialize in anorexia athletica and over-exercise, and are best equipped for dealing with this unique disorder.

Other individuals may thrive in an out-patient program, where they return to the clinic for counseling and therapy sessions. Most treatment programs will include nutrition and exercise counseling so that individuals can lead happy and healthy lives following recovery.