Treatment of Anorexia Athletica

Anorexia athletica (also known as Exercise Bulimia and Hyper gymnasia) is an eating disorder where people manage their caloric intake via obsessive compulsive over exercising. Today we discuss the signs of Anorexia Athletica, the repercussions and treatment.

Considering the numerous school campaigns to fight obesity, First Lady, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign aimed to get American children exercising and popular television shows like The Biggest Loser featuring the physical repercussions from obesity, exercise is undoubtedly a commonly praised activity. However, there are some who utilize exercise to the point that it becomes harmful. Anorexia athletica also known as Exercise Bulimia is a form of an eating disorder where an individual exercises to the point of malnourishment, injury and even death.

Anorexia athletica is an eating disorder characterized by excessive and compulsive exercising. Most common among athletes, anorexia athletica is a mental illness which gives those suffering from it a sense of having control over their body. Commonly, people with the disorder tend to feel they have no control over their lives other than their control of food and exercise. In actuality, they have no control over the mental illness without professional help; they cannot stop exercising or regulating food intake without feeling guilty.

Unlike anorexia nervosa, anorexia athletica does not have as much focus with body image as it does with performance. Athletes are commonly susceptible to developing anorexia athletica by eating more ‘healthy’ foods, as well as increasing their training, but when people feel like that is not enough they start working out excessively and cutting back their caloric intake until it becomes a psychological disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Person feels depressed, irritable or anxious if they miss a workout
  • Person feels they must exercise every day or they become restless
  • Person exercises even when they are sick or injured
  • Person’s responsibilities and relationships suffer taking a backseat to exercise
  • Person calculates how much they exercise based on how much they eat, or vice versa


  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Muscle and bone fatigue
  • Organ failure of the liver, heart and brain
  • Heart attack


The first step for someone going through anorexia athletica is to realize their eating and exercise habits are hurting them. Once an individual has realized they have a disorder, a treatment plan should be placed. Treatment utilizing doctors, nutritionists and sports trainers are paramount. A person struggling with anorexia athletica needs to learn the balance between exercise, balanced eating and stress management.