Anorexia is an eating disorder. People who have it are obsessed with losing more weight than needed. They may do this through methods like like excess physical activity or forced vomiting.
The cause is not known. It appears to be a mix of genes and the environment.
This problem is more common in young women. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Physical symptoms may include:
Mental and behavioral issues may include:
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The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.
A mental health exam may also be done. Other tests may be:
The goal is to return to and stay at a healthy weight. Choices are:
There are no known guidelines to prevent this health problem.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
National Eating Disorders Association
Canadian Mental Health Association
National Eating Disorder Information Center
Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anorexia-nervosa. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Anorexia nervosa. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Anorexia nervosa. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa. Accessed November 17, 2020.
Zipfel S, Giel KE, et al. Anorexia nervosa: aetiology, assessment, and treatment. Lancet Psychiatry. 2015 Dec;2(12):1099-1111.
Last reviewed September 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 04/21/2021