What is Anorexia?


What is Anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by restrictive eating leading to excessive weight loss or difficulty maintaining a normal body weight. It has significant mental and physical health consequences.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Extreme calorie restriction – Severely limiting food intake, often to only several hundred calories a day.
  • Intense fear of gaining weight – Overwhelming worry about weight gain even when underweight.
  • Distorted body image – Inability to see body accurately, often still feeling overweight when emaciated.
  • Excessive exercise – Compulsive need to exercise excessively as a means to burn calories.
  • Low body weight – Weighing significantly less than normal for age and height.
  • Amenorrhea or missed periods – Cessation of menstrual cycle due to low body weight and inadequate nutrition.

Health Risks

  • Bone loss
  • Hormone dysfunction
  • Heart damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Digestive issues
  • Infertility
  • Increased risk of early death

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes are unknown but are believed to involve a complex interaction of genetic, biological, behavioral, psychological and social factors.

Getting Help

Reversing anorexia requires professional medical and mental health treatment. A team approach with nutritional counseling, therapy and social support provides the best outcomes.

In summary, anorexia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder requiring compassionate medical intervention and mental health support for those affected.

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