Anorexia nervosa, often referred to simply as anorexia, is an eating disorder characterized by a low weight, fear of gaining weight, a strong desire to be thin, and food restriction. Many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even though they are underweight.If asked they usually deny they have a problem with low weight. Often they weigh themselves frequently, eat only small amounts, and only eat certain foods. Some will exercise excessively, force themselves to vomit, or use laxatives to produce weight loss. Complications may include osteoporosis, infertility and heart damage, among others.Women will often stop having menstrual periods.
It’s only human to wish you looked different or could fix something about yourself. But when a preoccupation with being thin takes over your eating habits, thoughts, and life, it’s a sign of an eating disorder. When you have anorexia, the desire to lose weight becomes more important than anything else. You may even lose the ability to see yourself as you truly are.
Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that affects women and men of all ages. It can damage your health and even threaten your life. But you’re not alone. There’s help available when you’re ready to make a change. You deserve to be happy. Treatment will help you feel better and learn to value
Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features:
- refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
- an intense fear of gaining weight
- a distorted body image
Because of your dread of becoming fat or disgusted with how your body looks, eating and mealtimes may be very stressful. And yet, what you can and can’t eat is practically all you can think about. Thoughts about dieting, food, and your body may take up most of your day—leaving little time for friends, family, and other activities you used to enjoy. Life becomes a relentless pursuit of thinness and going to extremes to lose weight.
But no matter how skinny you become, it’s never enough. While people with anorexia often deny having a problem, the truth is that anorexia is a serious and potentially deadly eating disorder. Fortunately, recovery is possible. With proper treatment and support, you or someone you care about can break anorexia’s self-destructive pattern and regain health and self-confidence.