Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by substantially low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight, as well as a distorted perception of one’s weight. People with anorexia will severely limit the amount of food and types of food that they eat to avoid gaining weight. They may also try to limit their weight by misusing diet aids, weight-loss supplements, or exercising excessively.
Anorexia does not discriminate by gender, age, sexual orientation, race, body type, etc. In many cases, anorexia manifests as an extremely unhealthy way to cope with other mental health problems.
As an eating disorder with very serious implications, anorexia can take over one’s life and severely alter eating habits. It can be life-threatening if left untreated. If you or someone you love is struggling with anorexia, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.
To be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (or DSM-5), the following criteria must be met:
It’s important to note that even if all of the DSM-5 criteria for anorexia are not met, a serious eating disorder may still be present. If an eating disorder is suspected, it is important to speak with a trained treatment professional.
Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia
In many cases, it is difficult to recognize that someone is living with anorexia. One does not need to appear emaciated or underweight to have an eating disorder. Potential warning signs of anorexia include:
Behavioral and Emotional
Health Consequences of Anorexia
Anorexia nervosa’s cycle of self-starvation denies the body the essential nutrients it needs to function normally. This causes the body to slow down processes to conserve energy, which may result in serious, or even life-threatening, medical consequences such as:
Get Help for Anorexia
Pyramid Healthcare offers multiple treatment options for anorexia. High Focus Centers has a disordered eating track for anyone who is experiencing unhealthy eating habits and/or poor body image, or those in recovery from an eating disorder who still need support for a mental health disorder. Those in need of more support can find help at Seeds of Hope, a structured outpatient eating disorder treatment program in Pennsylvania.
If you or someone you love is suffering from anorexia nervosa, get in touch and have a friendly, supportive conversation with our team. Start your path to a healthier life today.