Anorexia Nervosa - Symptoms
Feelings and actions
Common feelings and actions that are linked to anorexia nervosa include:1
- Having an intense fear of gaining weight.
- 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 loss.
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 vomiting.
Common physical signs of malnutrition from anorexia include:2
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 suicidal.
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 professional immediately.
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.