Addicted to exercise – anorexia athletica

You may have come across one at the gym recently. A skinny woman who works herself out on fitness equipment. The facial expression is flat. After a training session, she replenishes the fluid deficit with water and then turns to another piece of equipment. Anorexia athletics means that someone exercises excessively in order to become slim. This disorder gradually dominates the patient’s life. Addicted to exercise: anorexia athletica.

Compulsive exercise

The disease or psychological disorder anorexia nervosa has different forms. There is the form in which the patient regularly binges and vomits out the food. The most well-known type is the restrictive type. The patient eats little, resulting in weight loss and being underweight. In addition, there is orthorexia: an obsession with healthy, preferably raw food.

It is estimated that 10% of women in the gym suffer from this disorder. It is not a recognized eating disorder and the name anorexia athletica has only been used for about ten years. The patients are mainly young women, between 25 and 35 years old, with hectic lives. They demand a lot from themselves and compulsive exercise is a way to gain control over their lives.

Addicted to exercise: anorexia athletica

What is the difference between this deadly psychological disorder and a passion for the gym or the pursuit of a slim body? There are a number of features. People with anorexia atlethica waltz beyond their physical limits. They ignore pain and other symptoms the body produces, such as a dangerously high heart rate, illness or injuries.
If they cannot exercise for a day, they feel restless and rushed. They almost always play sports alone. An hour at the gym is therefore not a pleasant pastime. If they miss one time, they train extra hard the next time. There is a great fear of gaining weight. Not training is therefore compensated by eating less. The calories burned are accurately recorded and the patient only leaves the device after the desired calorie number has appeared on the counter.

Reasons are made up to exercise. This secrecy is also a characteristic of eating disorders in general. For this reason, people often exercise in different gyms.

There are also external characteristics by which you can recognize someone with anorexia athletica, namely dull eyes that do not reflect emotion, dull hair, poor skin and an emaciated body.

Risks of anorxia athletica

It goes without saying that extreme sporting behavior entails risks. Menstruation can stop, even resulting in infertility. There is an increased risk of osteoporosis and breast cancer. 10% of people who suffer from bulimia or anorexia die. Forty percent do not recover.

A well-known Dutch person who suffered from this eating disorder was Leontien van Morsel. Fortunately, she has overcome her eating disorder.