Evidence-Based Comprehensive Psychological, Nutritional and Medical Care

Recommendations for Treatment of Athletes with Eating Disorders

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders in Athletes

  • Weight loss/resistance to regain/weight lower than necessary for adequate sport performance
  • Poor body image
  • Excessive training
  • Vomiting after eating
  • Binge eating
  • Restrictive/rigid eating
  • Fainting, dizziness, dehydration
  • Amenorrhea
  • Fatigue beyond that normally expected in training or competition
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Overuse injuries/stress fractures

When to Refer an Athlete for Intensive Eating Disorder Treatment*

  • Weight is less than 85% of expected weight based on height.
  • Caloric intake is quite low, and the athlete continues to resist increasing caloric intake.
  • Symptoms are worsening over time, and the athlete’s health is compromised.
  • The athlete trains/exercises excessively despite injury or prohibitions from medical and training staffs.
  • The athlete is engaging in self-harming behaviors and/or has suicidal thoughts.
  • Psychiatric/psychological symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety, etc.) prevent progress.
  • Progress is not made on an outpatient basis after 6 weeks of treatment.
  • The athlete has potentially serious medical complications (i.e., bradycardia, prolonged QT interval, electrolyte abnormalities, syncope, etc.).

*Intensive treatment for athletes and eating disorders typically involves at least 8 hours per day for at least 5 days per week, usually for a period of weeks.

Marks of Quality Care
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)
  • Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa
  • International Association Of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
  • RenewED, Eating Disorders Support
  • Washington University in St. Louis

McCallum Place addresses all areas of your eating disorder. It’s so important to visit all these areas (physical, mental, emotional, and habitual) to fully understand your eating disorder and how to maintain your personal recovery.

– A Former Resident