Runners with Eating Disorders

Runners with eating disordersIn the world of dedicated runners and athletes, eating disorders are not a new phenomenon. Running in itself can be addictive, and many runners have a drive to succeed in many things. At the root of every eating disorder is a person who wishes to be a better person and to have greater control over life. What may begin as a way to cope with anxiety might eventually become disordered eating that requires treatment to overcome.

Do You Have an Eating Disorder?

Disordered eating takes many forms, and some forms do not yet have an official diagnosis. The conditions that tend to affect athletes and runners are more than traditional anorexia, bulimia or overeating. See if the following newly coined terms fit your situation:

  • Orthorexia nervosa. Sometimes called orthorexia, this pattern of disordered eating is wrapped around the concept of healthy eating. In some cases, this can look like extremely picky eating or even obsessive compulsive disorder. Orthorexia occurs when a person becomes fixated on healthy eating and begins to fear foods that contain fats, preservatives, pesticides or other undesired additions. Orthorexia begins with a desire to eat healthy organic foods and slowly progresses to become so severe that the person may end up eating nothing.
  • Activity anorexia. Activity anorexia is a specific type of anorexia nervosa that is caused by excessive exercise. In activity anorexia, the person is literally running and exercising so often that he or she forgets to eat or avoids food intake. Not only can this lead to muscle injuries and illness, it also requires treatment. When a person suffers from activity anorexia, he or she may exercise for hours on end without eating. This can be dangerous and can lead to heart attack, stroke, electrolyte imbalance or death.
  • Anorexia athletica. Anorexia athletica is compulsive over-exercising. While a daily jog can be relaxing and invigorating, people with anorexia athletica exercise even after the exercise ceases to be enjoyable. Exercise becomes an obligation and an obsession. The person with anorexia athletica cannot seem to stop exercising. This can also lead to heart attack, stroke, electrolyte imbalance or death.

How to Treat Eating Disorders in Runners

An eating disorder does not begin overnight. It takes time to develop an eating disorder, and most eating disorders begin slowly until they build to a powerful and deadly force. While the best treatment of eating disorders is prevention, once an eating disorder has begun the only true treatment is an inpatient rehab.

If you take running seriously, you want to be able to run for the rest of your life. An eating disorder can lead you to serious injuries and body strain. An eating disorder will stop you from achieving your goals and it will make you sick in the long run.

Need Help with Eating Disorders?

Let us help you. We work with some of the best treatment centers in the country, and we offer a placement service that is free to you. When you call us, you will speak with one of our experienced counselors who will take the time to help you get the treatment you desire. We can help you work with your insurance company to ensure coverage for eating disorder treatment and we can even help you arrange travel to and from treatment.

Call us now to find out how we can help you. Our helpline is toll-free and operated 24 hours a day.