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Anorexia Athletica

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When someone makes the time to exercise, they are giving themselves the gifts of health and fitness. However, just as with any habit, when exercise is taken to an unhealthy place, the person who is exercising can harm themselves more than they are helping themselves. In anorexia athletica, a person may be exercising more than they need to, all because of a fear of gaining weight or just in the pursuit of a ‘perfect’ body. Pushing themselves further and further, a person with anorexia athletica may be causing themselves more trouble than they realize.


Symptoms of Anorexia Athletica

What’s interesting about anorexia athletica is that the person who is exercising doesn’t believe that a lot of exercise is a bad thing. And why would they? So many studies and news stories tell people that the more you exercise the better it can be for your body. Exercise is justified. However, when exercise becomes an addiction - becomes something that a person has to do and that they do not enjoy doing, this is where a person may be causing trouble for their health. In anorexia athletica, a person will exercise for longer and longer periods of time as they feel this is going to help them achieve the perfect physique or they may simply feel that they are not a good person if they do not exercise a certain amount of time each day.


What Causes Anorexia Athletica?

Many people suffering from anorexia athletica are exercising to the extreme to lose weight and be thin. An unhealthy obsession with losing body fat and/or to have significant muscle definition can be the driving force behind this unhealthy behavior. Unfortunately, people with anorexia athletica do not see themselves as thin or underweight and do not think their behavior is unhealthy or damaging.


What’s harmful about anorexia athletica is that the person who is exercising never feels like they are exercising enough or achieving the body physique they want. They continuously push themselves toward more difficult goals and activities. A person with this condition may continue to sign up for bigger and bigger athletic goals in order to see how far they can push their bodies, while also guaranteeing themselves the permission to exercise more in order to train for such events.


Anorexia Athletica Warning Signs

In a society that considers exercise part of a healthy lifestyle, anorexia athletica can go unnoticed for some time before intervention is sought. In the meantime, people with anorexia athletica can become dangerously underweight and unhealthy, causing permanent damage to their bodies. Anorexia athletica can affect both men and women at any age, but is most common in girls between the ages of 12-19 years.


A clear sign that someone may be suffering from anorexia athletica is the fact that they choose exercise over social activities. They may begin to take up time that was saved for socializing or for work to begin to exercise more and more. This begins to isolate them from society and it causes them to have more and more time devoted to their exercise addiction. As many friends and family may not see the problem with this habit at first, it can be easy for a person with anorexia athletica to continue to remove themselves from others.


When a person is suffering from anorexia athletica, it may not be apparent at first. But when the person begins to remove themselves from society and they make exercise their only priority, this is when they might need help. By working with a therapist to discover their feelings surrounding body image and self esteem, a person with this type of anorexia can recover.