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What causes anorexia nervosa?

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No one knows the exact cause of anorexia, but it could be a mix of personality traits, emotions, and thinking patterns, as well as a person's biology and environment.

People with anorexia often use food as a way to feel in control in stressful times. Feeling inadequate, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness also might play a role. They might have troubled relationships, or a history of being teased about their size. Pressure from peers and society's emphasis on thinness also can have an impact.

From: Anorexia Nervosa WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Psychiatric Association: "Eating Disorders."

National Institute of Mental Health: "Eating Disorders."

Mayo Clinic: "Anorexia nervosa."

womenshealth.gov: "Eating Disorders."

National Eating Disorders Association: "What's Going on With Me?"

National Eating Disorders Association: "Seeking Treatment: What Does Treatment Involve?"

MedlinePlus: "Anorexia nervosa."

 

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on July 12, 2018

SOURCES:

American Psychiatric Association: "Eating Disorders."

National Institute of Mental Health: "Eating Disorders."

Mayo Clinic: "Anorexia nervosa."

womenshealth.gov: "Eating Disorders."

National Eating Disorders Association: "What's Going on With Me?"

National Eating Disorders Association: "Seeking Treatment: What Does Treatment Involve?"

MedlinePlus: "Anorexia nervosa."

 

Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari on July 12, 2018

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What are physical causes of anorexia nervosa?

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THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

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