Anorexia athletica treatment

Call today for more information about anorexia athletica and the treatment options available at our UK treatment centres.

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Page clinically reviewed by Charlie Carroll, CBT Therapist at Priory Wellbeing Centre Manchester in March 2024.

Specialist anorexia athletica treatment

We know that anorexia athletica, like any eating disorder, can take a huge toll on many areas of your life. You might feel that you've lost control of your eating habits and that your self-esteem has faded away. Your day-to-day existence may be completely disrupted, while relationships, work and even hobbies are likely to suffer too.

You mustn’t blame yourself for what you're going through. Many people have a complicated relationship with food and body image, which has reached a point where it's harming their physical and mental health. Anorexia athletica may be less well-known than other eating disorders, but its damaging effects are very real. The condition often arises as a result of struggling with difficult events or emotions. Without support, however, things will only get worse. The good news is that Priory can help you handle whatever life brings and start to repair your health and happiness.

Get advice from Priory

Our experts have the knowledge and experience to help you start to manage the symptoms of anorexia athletica. We've already supported many others in similar situations to your own, helping them to feel significantly better and cope with everyday life again. You are just as capable of improving your own circumstances. You deserve to enjoy a healthier relationship with both food and yourself.

We know that any mental health challenge can feel daunting to talk about, but it's important for you to reach out. Opening up about your eating disorder, and seeking advice on appropriate treatment, is the first crucial step to getting better, enabling you to look forward to a more positive road ahead. You're already recognising that you need professional support, which is hugely important. As soon as you contact us, we can help you to start your recovery journey and change the course of your life for the better.

Fast access to residential treatment

We are currently able to offer fast access to private inpatient treatment at Priory. Please call us today and speak to our expert advisers.

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Signs you may need anorexia athletica treatment with Priory

There are many different symptoms associated with eating disorders, which can be difficult to identify when you're the one who's struggling. At Priory, we know exactly how to recognise the specific features of anorexia athletica, so we can suggest the most effective course of treatment.

Anorexia athletica, also called 'sports anorexia', 'compulsive exercising' or 'hypergymnasia', is an eating disorder that causes an obsession with exercising. If you're struggling with this, your condition has likely caused you to develop a fixation on body image, leading to you restricting your food intake to maintain a low weight.

These are the most common symptoms of anorexia athletica:

  • An unhealthy fixation on excessive exercise
  • An overpowering fear of putting on weight
  • A distorted and negative body image

Anorexia athletica creates a strong focus on athletic performance as a way of controlling weight, rather than trying to do this mainly through restricting food and calorie consumption (as with anorexia nervosa). This means the signs of anorexia athletica can commonly be missed, as its dangers are masked by a pretence of healthy living and competing with the athleticism of others. People who have anorexia athletica often struggle with additional eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia, which can complicate matters further.

It's also important to understand that exercising is common as part of the purging behaviours seen in someone with bulimia. However, this type of exercising is less consistent than exercising in anorexia athletica, and is more related to over-eating episodes.

No matter what you're going through, we can help you to move past your symptoms, recover your self-confidence and turn things around for the long-term. With Priory’s support, you can focus on working towards a more fulfilling future.

Introducing eating disorder treatment at Life Works

Life Works in Surrey, is known for its expert inpatient eating disorder service, helping those struggling with anorexia get their life back on track. Day treatment services and outpatient services are also available at Priory.


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Support and treatment

Our compassionate, experienced team hold no judgement and are passionate about helping you to achieve your personal goals. We have already helped many others to overcome their problems and enjoy a better quality of life.

Our approach to your recovery involves specialist techniques for eating disorder support, which have been proven to help improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. With your input, we'll put together a treatment plan which works for you and your unique situation. Our programmes aim to:

  • Identify the deep-rooted beliefs which lead to unhealthy eating habits
  • Confront and gradually reduce damaging behaviours
  • Improve your relationship with food
  • Improve your overall health, self-esteem and lifestyle, including addressing family-related issues
  • Teach you the skills to manage your symptoms in the long-term

The type of treatment you'll receive at Priory depends on your current needs and symptoms. We offer an inpatient (residential) programme for people who need round-the-clock support, at Life Works.

Alternatively, day care allows you to access the same intensive level of therapy throughout the day, while continuing to live at home. We can also provide flexible outpatient treatment, with appointments you can fit around your other commitments.

Psychodynamic therapy can also be useful when it comes to treating anorexia athletica. It can help people to:

  • Explore underlying issues - psychodynamic therapy aims to explore unconscious thoughts, feelings and motivations. People with anorexia athletica often have underlying psychological issues such as low self-esteem, perfectionism or unresolved conflicts. By delving into these deeper issues, psychodynamic therapy can help people understand the root causes of their behaviour
  • Identify triggers and patterns - psychodynamic therapy helps people to identify triggers and patterns that could be contributing to their disordered eating and exercise habits. By recognising these triggers, people can learn healthier coping mechanisms and develop strategies to manage stress and emotions more effectively
  • Build self-awareness - through the therapeutic process, people can develop a greater understanding of their thoughts, emotions and behaviours. Increased self-awareness can help people to make positive changes and break free from destructive patterns
  • Address relationship dynamics - psychodynamic therapy often focuses on interpersonal relationships and how they can affect a person's mental health. It can help people to explore how their relationships with family members, friends or romantic partners influence their self-image and behaviours related to food and exercise
  • Process trauma - lots of people with eating disorders have experienced traumatic events in their lives such as abuse, neglect or bullying. Psychodynamic therapy provides a safe space for people to process past traumas and develop healthier ways of coping with their emotions
  • Promote self-compassion - psychodynamic therapy emphasises self-compassion and acceptance. It encourages people to be kinder to themselves and to recognise their worth beyond their appearance or athletic performance.

Overall, psychodynamic therapy can help people with anorexia athletica to develop a healthier relationship with exercise, food and their bodies, while also fostering personal growth and emotional wellbeing.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is commonly used for treating eating disorders, and many other mental health conditions, due to its effectiveness. It addresses the negative thought patterns behind eating disorders, which can help with anorexia athletica in the following ways:

  • Identifying the specific deep-rooted beliefs that have led to your condition, for example, around food and body image
  • Understanding why you hold these beliefs
  • Challenging these negative beliefs and replacing them with healthier perceptions

By confronting these negative thought patterns, CBT can help you to change the behaviours associated with them. This will help you to make healthier choices around food and exercise, and instil self-belief that you can recover from your current symptoms.

Find out more about how Priory can support you

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Get help for anorexia athletica

Getting help for anorexia athletica is the first significant step towards regaining control over your life and health. Priory offers specialist care and a compassionate approach to treatment, tailored to your needs. Call us to today to find out about our approach to eating disorder treatment, and how we can help you to get back on track. Remember that you really don’t have to struggle alone; help is available.

Additional information and FAQs

Excellent outcomes

At Priory, we’re committed to delivering expert, personalised eating disorder treatment that results in the most positive outcomes for everyone we support. We measure our patients’ satisfaction and progress in a number of ways, and ask every person who uses our services to let us know how they found their treatment experience and if there’s anything we can improve upon.

We also believe the best outcomes are achieved by using the highest quality facilities, and through the dedication of our experienced staff. We are committed to investing back into our services to achieve this, and use your feedback to continually develop and improve.

Crisis care at Priory

Priory’s customer service team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that people in crisis can be signposted to the best possible support, as quickly as possible. The specialist teams at our residential facilities can help to stabilise people in need of immediate assistance for their eating disorder or other mental health concerns.


Eating disorder services summary

Private medical insurance

All of the services that we offer at Priory can be funded through private medical insurance. This includes:

  • Mental health treatment
  • Addiction treatment
  • Eating disorder treatment

All clients will have access to our highly skilled and accredited clinicians, many of whom are published experts in the field of mental health and addiction treatment. Whatever your needs, we're committed to working with you to get your life back on track.

Registered and approved provider

We are a registered and approved provider for all of the UK's leading private medical insurers.

Anorexia athletica treatment near me

We have anorexia athletica treatment centres located throughout the country, meaning that you can access the support you need in a location that’s convenient for you. To find your nearest anorexia athletica treatment centre, please use the search form below.

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

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