A person with anorexia has an obsessive fear about being overweight. People with anorexia lose weight by voluntary starvation, purging, excessive exercise, or other weight control measures. Research suggests that people with anorexia restrict food to gain a sense of control in some area of their lives. They often have a negative or distorted body image—they believe they’re overweight even when they’re dangerously thin. If you or someone you know is struggling with anorexia, professional help is critical as this condition can lead to serious physical damage and be fatal if untreated.
Symptoms of anorexia include:
- Weighing 15% or more below normal body weight
- Weight loss, sometimes by means of self-induced vomiting, abuse of laxatives or enemas, or excessive exercise
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Seeing oneself as overweight no matter how underweight
- Anxious or ritualistic behavior at mealtimes
- Menstrual changes or the absence of menstruation in women