Anorexia Nervosa - Symptoms
Feelings and actions
Common feelings and actions that
are linked to
anorexia nervosa include:1
- Having an intense fear of gaining
- Restricting food or types of food, such as food that
contains any kind of fat or sugar.
- Weighing much less than is normal or
expected for your age, gender, stage of development, or physical health. (In a child or teen, losing or not gaining weight during
a growth spurt is a concern.)
- Seeing your body as overweight, in
spite of being underweight. This is called having a distorted body image.
- Exercising too much.
- Being secretive around food and not
recognizing or wanting to talk about having a problem with eating or weight
Some people who have anorexia may also have times where they binge eat and make themselves vomit or
use laxatives or diuretics to lose weight.
Breakdown of the enamel on the teeth is a common symptom of long-term
Common physical signs of malnutrition from anorexia include:2
- A low body weight.
- Constipation and
slow emptying of the stomach.
- Thinning hair, dry skin, and brittle
- Shrunken breasts.
- Stopping or never getting a
monthly menstrual period.
- Feeling cold, with a lower-than-normal
- Low blood pressure.
People who have anorexia often form rituals associated with eating. These may include:
- Having special ways of eating food, hoarding
food, collecting recipes, and preparing elaborate meals for other people but
not eating the meals themselves.
- Spending a lot of time cutting and
rearranging food on their plates to make it look as though they have eaten.
They may also hide food or secretly get rid of it during meals.
In some cases, people who have eating disorders can feel
Warning signs of possible suicide in children and teens can include making suicide threats, being preoccupied with death or suicide, giving
away belongings, withdrawing, being angry, or having failing grades.
Warning signs and possible triggers of suicide in adults can include suicide threats, alcohol or substance abuse, depression, giving away
belongings, a recent job loss, or divorce.
If someone you know shows warning signs of suicide, make
sure that the person is not left alone. Seek help from a mental health
If you are
having suicidal thoughts, talk to someone about it. Call a local suicide
hotline, your local health department, or the national suicide hotline
(1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255), or seek help at a
local hospital emergency room.