6 signs your patient may have an exercise disorder

Excessive exercising is present in up to 80% of those with anorexia nervosa

While most patients struggle to meet minimum exercise benchmarks, others fall into the dangerous territory of compulsive exercise disorder, something that often goes hand-in-hand with food issues.

Psychiatrist Dr Phillipa Hay, an eating disorders academic and director of Wesley Eating Disorders Centre in Sydney, says a compulsive drive to exercise excessively needs specific mental health interventions and treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy. 

Studies have shown that compulsive exercise occurs in half of all patients with an eating disorder and in up to 80% of those with anorexia nervosa, she says.

“Exercise has many benefits for health, both physically and psychologically," she says.  "However, over-exercising can become an addiction that has negative consequences on health."

Here are Dr Hay's six signs and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive