On a previous article, eating disorders in gymnasts has been introduced. The reasons why gymnasts are affected by this condition, more than ballet dancers and figure skaters, are also discussed. With all that over, let us now get familiar with the types of eating disorders on gymnasts.

The following types of eating disorders have been diagnosed as psychiatric types of illnesses, described by a series of conditions. These conditions are more than just an obsession with eating and body weight.

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Anorexia Nervosa

Experts diagnoses someone with anorexia nervosa based on the presence of two criteria: absolute and relative. The absolute criteria are a series of conditions which should be manifested, while the relative criteria are a series of conditions which may be manifested.

Arizona State University Researchers have compiled lists of absolute and relative indicative criteria. However, these lists are still under research phase and may be changed or added in the future.

Absolute Criteria

  1. Unattractive body image.
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even if they look really thin already.
  3. Total meticulousness in food consumption and body mass.
  4. Compulsive exercise beyond what the sport requires, and in comparison with fellow athletes of the same level.
  5. Absence of other medical conditions associated with weight loss.

Relative Criteria

  1. Purging, forcing one’s self to vomit, or using laxatives within a span of at least one month.
  2. Menstrual disorders.
  3. Gastrointestinal illnesses.
  4. Bingeing or eating too much food uncontrollably, happening at least eight times a month within a span of at least three months.

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Bulimia Nervosa

This illness is characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviors likes self-induced vomiting in an attempt to undo or compensate for the effects of eating too much. The symptoms or warning signs for this illness are the following:

  1. Frequent instances of eating very large amount of food followed by behaviors to prevent weight gain.
  2. Feeling like the person is out of control during the binge-eating episodes.
  3. Self-esteem is driven mostly by body image.
  4. Excessive, rigid exercise regimen despite the weather, fatigue, illness or injury.
  5. Discoloration or staining of teeth.
  6. Schedules are rearranged to make time for binge and purging sessions.

The eating disorders mentioned above are just two examples, but the most common. In reality, there are so much more, like rumination disorder, pica eating disorder, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.

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