A medical team must devise an integrated treatment plan, and patients must go through a preliminary phase of detoxification.
Such treatment plans are common for treating non-athletes suffering from eating disorders; however, the treatment of athletes must include some additional steps.
This happens in fields such as gymnastics, figure skating or running.
Added to the stress that athletic performance involves, and to the usual risk factors and personal family history that may create just the right breeding conditions for these mental diseases, these premises make athletes a group that is highly susceptible to developing eating disorders.
Such symptoms may include an intense preoccupation with food, excessive fasting, binging, purging, fear of being overweight, compulsive exercising and obsession with training even when injured.
This is not to say that men are immune to eating disorders, only that the incidence of these conditions is higher among women.
Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, are often found in athletes – a group in which they reach alarming rates.
The sports culture, with its emphasize on optimal body size or shape for optimal performance, is many times an influencing factor in developing such a condition.
Nutritional counseling helps athletes understand what their body needs in terms of food, how to plan meals, how to avoid excessive dieting and how to develop healthy eating habits.
If the eating disorder is accompanied by substance abuse (an extremely common co-occurring condition), athletes must undergo dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both problems in order to avoid relapse.