Often considered a condition only affluent white teenagers, eating disorders can occur at any stage in life.
Anorexia Nervosa- A person suffering from this condition refuses to maintain the recommended body weight, has a compulsive fear of gaining weight, and an unrealistic perception of their body image. Most people with anorexia nervosa often limit the quantity of food intake, and they consider themselves as overweight even when they aren’t. Anorexia has damaging health effects including multi-organ failure, brain damage, heart difficulties, bone loss, infertility, and even death.
Bulimia Nervosa- Binge eating (overeating), forced vomiting and using laxatives to get rid of consumed food characterizes this eating disorder. People who suffer from Bulimia feel unhappy about their body shape, size, and fear of weight gain. The affected people engage in binge-eating and the purging cycle secretly, and this causes feelings of guilt, shame, and lack of control. This condition has injuring effects such as severe hydration, gastrointestinal problems, and heart-related complications.
These eating disorders have been found to affect athletes at an alarming rate. The emphasis of having an optimal body shape and size in the sports culture for better performance is the primary cause of this condition. Athletes are also prone because they later suffer the effects of their eating disorders. They exercise heavily, and their bodies get depleted more quickly. Therefore, it’s important that athletes, their coaches along with their families recognize such problems and take a timely action not because they may be unable to perform, but because an eating disorder is deadly.
Some sporting activities stress on thinness as an important factor to enhance performance. This is in some fields such as skating, gymnastics, and athletics. On the other hand, high-performance athletes often emphasize on perfection which is a main influential factor that leads to eating disorders. Professionals have identified that eating disorders affect athletes more.
Treatment of Anorexia and Bulimia in Athletes
The treatment of athletes isn’t easy, especially in a situation where one believes that he or she should remain thin to succeed in athletics. In most cases, the line between a dedicated athlete and their engagement in obsessive exercising is blurred by the notion that they should work hard. However, the first step to treating bulimia and anorexia is by helping the patient to acknowledge that they have a problem.
This type of therapy has been found to lessen feelings of stigma, shame, or isolation. In this treatment, family counseling is recommended to make sure that the negative factors that influence the patients are understood and eliminated.
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