Anorexia Nervosa

Scale and tape measureAnorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by an extremely restricted caloric intake. Sufferers may rapidly lose weight, or may simply reduce their caloric intake to an unhealthy level in an attempt to lose weight. A severely distorted body image typically goes along with anorexia, and people with anorexia may genuinely view themselves as obese despite having skeletal frames.

What Are the Symptoms of Anorexia?

Anorexia often occurs alongside other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and/or bulimia. Common symptoms of anorexia nervosa include the following:

  • Extremely restrictive caloric intake – eating fewer calories than is necessary to sustain a healthy body weight over several days.
  • Distorted self-perception and a pervasive desire to be thin.
  • The use of laxatives to eliminate more calories from the diet.
  • Excessive growth of thin hair on the body, cardiac arrhythmias, and fainting.

What Causes Anorexia?

The cause of anorexia is not known. However, there are several factors that increase a person’s likelihood of developing anorexia. These include:

  • Being a perfectionist. Anorexia gives some people a sense of control over their lives and bodies.
  • Having very controlling parents.
  • Participation in weight-conscious sports such as dance and gymnastics.
  • Being female.
  • Exposure to unhealthy images of excessively thin models, actors, and other role models.
  • Being an adolescent. Anorexia is incredibly common among adolescent women adjusting to the bodily changes that come with puberty.

What Is the Treatment for Anorexia?

Because anorexia can be fatal, the first step in treatment focuses on diet. Severely underweight people may be given intravenous fluids or a feeding tube. Therapy, particularly group therapy, is highly successful at treating anorexia. Many people with anorexia enter inpatient treatment facilities where they can receive support and advice from other people who also have anorexia. Medication may help during the recovery of anorexia in some cases. People with anorexia tend to be nervous and high strung, and medications designed to reduce depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies may also help reduce anorexic behavior. 


  1. Anorexia Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – Who is at risk for anorexia nervosa? on MedicineNet. (n.d.). MedicineNet. Retrieved from
  2. Board, A. E. (0000, November 18). Causes, incidence, and risk factors. Anorexia Nervosa. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 08-4-2015

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  • berry jake

    October 25th, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Anorexia nervosa is a dangerous issue for health concerns. They keep on loosing calories to gain a perfect body shape. It could harm them seriously. These sort of eating disorders are sustainable and could happen time to time when the person faces a mental break down.

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