Are athletes affected by eating disorders?

More and more athletes are affected by eating disorders. In this industry, optimal body size is one of the main factors that influence the performance of an athlete. It is considered that an optimal performance can be achieved only if the athlete is in a great shape. When an athlete experiences an eating disorder, they will feel its consequences harsher than other people will. When an athlete experiences an eating disorder, it is important they, their family and their coaches to quickly detect it, because it can have devastating consequences on an athlete’s performance. Eating conditions not only that can affect the performance of an athlete, but they can also cause them death if they are not treated in time.

What factors influence eating disorder development?

The cases of bulimia and anorexia in athletes are not accidental. They feel pressed to have a perfect performance and they are told that their weight and body shape is the main factor that influences their performance. The development of an eating disorder is facilitated in these conditions. In order to keep their eating habits under check their coaches advise them to wear different gadgets. In multiple cases, the coaches are the ones who trigger eating disorders in athletes, because they push them without considering their overall health state.

Also, there are cases when the specific of a sport is the one that requires athletes to be thin. It is considered that only the thinnest athletes will be able to perform at a high level. The stress of taking part in competitions paired with the pressure they feel from their coaches’ part make athletes suffer not only from eating disorders, but also from mental ones.

How can athletes treat themselves if they suffer from eating disorders?

A mistake many athletes make when they suffer from an eating disorder is to start using substances. Many times, they start using substances, because they have the misconception that they will help them lose the extra weight they are dealing with. The results are that they end up developing addictions, they can get suspended because they consume illegal substances, and they can start experiencing mental disorders like depression. Eating disorders and mental health issues are closely related.

  1. The first step they have to make in order to treat their condition is to admit that they are not feeling well, and they are dealing with a situation they cannot control.
  2. Once they are aware that they are suffering from a serious condition, they should start seeking help. Behavioural therapy has great results when it comes to eating disorders, because they have to understand what the causes that triggered their condition are and what they can do to improve their state.
  3. There are times when in order to treat this type of condition therapists recommend them using medication together with therapy. These situations are happening when they are also experiencing thoughts of suicide, depression or anxiety because of the eating disorder they face.
  4. Nutritional counselling is another important step in treating eating disorders, because athletes have the chance to understand how to eat in order to maintain their body in a state that helps them perform.