Anorexia Nervosa

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Anorexia Nervosa is a serious disorder characterized by intense preoccupation with food and body shape/weight, restrictive and/or rigid eating behaviors, excessive weight loss and an intense fear of gaining weight.

Diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa are based on the following symptoms:

  • The refusal to achieve and maintain a body weight at or above what is appropriate for age and height
  • Refusal to acknowledge clinically underweight status
  • Fear of gaining weight or “getting fat,” regardless of current weight
  • Preoccupation with body weight or shape, and/or allowing body weight or shape to unduly influence self-evaluation, or refusal to acknowledge clinically underweight status
  • Amenorrhea in postmenarcheal females (missing at least 3 consecutive menstrual periods)

There are two sub-types of Anorexia Nervosa:

  • Restricting Type: Does not involve binge-eating or purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas
  • Binge/Purge Type: Involves binge-eating and/or purging behaviors such as self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemasChecklist for visible characteristics of Anorexia Nervosa

Checklist for Visible Characteristics

Behavioral Signs

  • Signs of restricted eating (unusually low intake of food), such as severe diets or fasting
  • Odd food rituals, such as counting bites of food, cutting food into tiny pieces, or
    preparing food for others while refusing to eat
  • Intense fear of becoming fat, regardless of low weight
  • Fear of food and situations where food may be present
  • Rigid exercise regimes
  • Dressing in layers to hide weight loss
  • Bingeing
  • Use of laxatives, enemas, or diuretics to get rid of food
  • Frequent weighing

Physiological and Emotional Signs

  • Weight loss (often in a short period of time)
  • Cessation of menstruation without physiological cause
  • Complaints of feeling cold or tired
  • Dizziness and fainting spells
  • Attitude Shifts
  • Mood shifts
  • Perfectionistic attitude
  • Insecurities about her capabilities regardless of actual performance
  • Feelings of self-worth are determined by what is or is not eaten
  • Withdrawal from people