Anorexia—Adult

(Anorexia Nervosa—Adult)

Definition

Anorexia is an eating disorder. It occurs when a person's obsession with diet and exercise leads to extreme weight loss. The disorder is considered if a person refuses to maintain a body weight at or above 85% of their ideal body weight. Anorexia can be fatal.

Causes

The cause of anorexia is not known. It appears to be a combination of genetics and environment.

Risk Factors

Anorexia is more common in women. Factors that increase your risk for anorexia include:
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Perfectionism
  • Fear of becoming overweight
  • Pressure to be thin
  • Family history of eating disorders
  • Emotional stress
  • Mood disorders, such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Influenced by social and fashion trends emphasizing or glamorizing thinness

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Obsession with food, calories, and fat content
  • Dieting even when thin
  • Intense fear of gaining weight, even when underweight
  • Body dysmorphia—distorted self-image of being overweight despite evidence of the opposite
  • Basing self-evaluation heavily on body weight or shape
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Excessive exercising
  • Feeling cold, especially hands and feet
  • Being secretive about food
  • Hair loss and/or growth of fine hair on the body
  • Fainting or severe light-headedness
  • Constipation
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
Anorexia often leads to a number of serious medical problems including:
Body Dysmorphia
Anorexia
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

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