Anorexia Athletica: What Is It And How Is It Treated?

A dedicated fitness routine is a great way to stay healthy and fit, but as with everything else in life, people can take things too far. For some people, aggressive fitness training is just a symptom of a more serious problem: an eating disorder.

Some people who are addicted to exercise may be suffering from anorexia athletic. It's just as dangerous as any other eating disorder, and people who are suffering from it should seek help as soon as possible.

When Fitness Isn't Healthy

It can be hard to tell the difference between a fitness fan and someone with anorexia athletica. Many people who suffer from anorexia athletica don't even know the difference and don't realize they have a problem.

For people with this eating disorder, exercise becomes an obsessive-compulsive habit rather than a choice. They think about fitness, health, weight loss, calorie counting, and other related topics almost all the time. They put working out before nearly anything if they can get away with it, including responsibilities and loved ones. Almost nothing can stop them, be it illness or injury.

When they can't get to the gym or work out, people with anorexia athletica may become very anxious and moody, just like any addict who can't get his "fix."

A person with anorexia athletica bases his entire sense of self-worth on his appearance and physical performance.

Health Risks

People with anorexia athletica may suffer from a wide range of health problems, from minor muscle pulls to cardiac arrest. They may suffer from a high number of fractures, ligament tears, or muscle injuries. Intense workouts combined with caloric restriction and/or dehydration can put severe stress on the body, and every organ is at risk for damage or failure.

Treatment

There are several treatment options for those suffering from anorexia athletica. For people with severe cases, inpatient treatment may be the best option. In a residential treatment center, a sufferer will be carefully monitored and nursed back to health. Caregivers will provide them with nourishing meals, counseling, and round-the-clock support to help the patient stabilize.

Others may opt for out-patient treatment. They may be monitored closely by a physician, attend therapy sessions, and get counseling on proper nutrition and exercise. Sometimes, medications can help, such as anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants. These can take the edge off the emotional stress as the patient recovers. Different people may have different needs, so your health care team will work with you to customize your treatment plan.

Sources: Center For Discovery, Sagebrush Coaching

Photo: Pixabay

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