About Anorexia

Eating disorders are common illnesses that cause serious issues with a person’s diet on a daily basis, including eating too little or too much. Anorexia, also referred to as anorexia nervosa, is one of the three most common types of eating disorders.

Anorexia is a very serious mental illness in that people with the disorder are 18 times more likely to die earlier than people of similar age, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder that causes people to see themselves as overweight when they are extremely underweight. The condition is technically defined as the “inability of a person to maintain body weight within 15 percent of the Ideal Body Weight (IBW).”

What Are the Signs of Anorexia?

People who suffer from anorexia are very skinny and emaciated looking. Despite this extreme thinness, people still pursue loosing more weight and typically are unwilling to maintain a healthy weight. Some people with anorexia may engage in extreme dieting, binge eating followed by purging and excessive exercise to maintain their low weight. Others may abuse laxatives, enemas or diuretic medications.

What Are Long-Term Complications of Anorexia?

Besides the increase risk of death, other complications stemming from anorexia may include one or more of the following:

  • • thinning bones (osteoporosis)
  • • brittle hair and nails
  • • yellowish, dry skin
  • • muscle wasting and weakness
  • • low blood pressure
  • • heart and/or brain damage
  • • failure of multiple organs
  • • infertility
  • • feeling tired, or lethargic, all of the time
  • • lack of menstruation, called amenorrhea, in women

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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