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Anorexia | Anorexia Nervosa Signs and Symptoms

Anorexia is one of the most common eating disorders.  It affects mostly teenage girls and young women, although men are not exempt.  Anorexics starve themselves deliberately and slowly, and despite their obviously emaciated bodies, they believe they are overweight.  Anorexia can lead to serious health problems.  We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of anorexia below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Very thin appearance
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Hair loss
  • Cold or tingling extremities
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dry skin
  • Dull, brittle hair
  • Tooth decay
  • Bone loss
  • Feeling cold
  • A layer of thick, downy hair (lanugo)
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Constipation
  • Dehydration
  • Weak vital signs
  • Low blood pressure
  • Refusal to eat
  • Fear of being fat
  • Obsession with preparing food for others
  • Compulsive dining rituals
  • A rigid eating routine
  • Compulsive exercising
  • Denial of hunger
  • Use of laxatives or diet aids
  • Skipping meals
  • Hiding food
  • Pretending to eat
  • Refusal to eat
  • Fear of eating
  • Preoccupation with diet books and/or cookbooks
  • Preoccupation with counting calories
  • Eating only “safe” foods
  • Preoccupation with exercise
  • Wearing layers of heavy clothing

Diagnosis of Anorexia

Anorexia is diagnosed by comparing your weight to that of a typical person’s weight for your height and age.  Anorexia is also diagnosed through an in-depth look at your signs and symptoms.  A secondary diagnosis of anorexia can also involve a diagnosis of depression and anxiety.  Anorexia is considered a mental health disorder more than a physical disorder, although a diagnosis of anorexia can lead to physical complications such as osteoporosis, anemia, heart problems, kidney problems and cardiac arrest.

Books For People with Signs and Symptoms of Anorexia

The Anorexia Workbook: How to Accept Yourself, Heal Your Suffering, and Reclaim Your Life (New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)
Georg H. Eifert
Anorexia Nervosa: A Guide to Recovery
Lindsey Hall

Brave Girl Eating: A Family’s Struggle with Anorexia
Harriet Brown
The Mirror Lied: One woman’s 25-year struggle with bulimia, anorexia, diet pill addiction, laxative abuse and cutting.
N. R. Mitgang

Anorexia Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Association of Anorexia and Related Disorders

Non-profit organization provides details of support programs and volunteer opportunities.

  • Help Guide . org

Are you or a loved one struggling with anorexia? Explore the signs and symptoms, review the causes and effects, and learn about treatment and recovery.

  • WD

List of 303 disease causes of Anorexia, patient stories, diagnostic guides, medical books excerpts online about Anorexia, 97 drug side effect causes.

  • Med Help

Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Anorexia, Bulimia & Binge Eating.–Bulimia–Binge-Eating/show/268

  • Eating Disorders Forum . com

A recovery-oriented web site.

  • Orchid Recovery Center

An anorexia resource from a treatment and recovery center.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatments and more.

  • Web MD

The Anorexia Nervosa Health Center discusses causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

  • Medicine Nat . com

Get the facts on anorexia nervosa symptoms, warning signs, treatment, diagnosis, effects and statistics on this eating disorder.