What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a mental illness. People with this condition have an extreme preoccupation with food and body image: They don't eat, diet excessively, or otherwise eat far too little to maintain health. Despite being underweight, they often have anxiety related to the belief that they are overweight and continue to try to lose weight. While the syndrome is more common in girls and women compared to boys and men, it is now understood to affect more boys and men than previously thought. Statistics indicate that anorexia most often begins between 13-30 years of age. The numbers of children and adolescents with an eating disorder have steadily increased in the United States since the 1950s. The long-term effects and medical complications brought about by this psychiatric disorder can be severe and even fatal.
Bulimia nervosa is another eating disorder that involves a preoccupation with food and body image. However, characteristics of people with bulimia tend to be that they are of normal weight, binge eat within a discrete period of time, and have trouble controlling the urge to binge. They then try to compensate for (undo) the binge in an unhealthy way, by practices such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of medications, fasting, or exercising excessively.
As opposed to anorexia, binge eating disorder involves recurring episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food, along with a sense of feeling out of control at least weekly over three or more months. It may also involve strong feelings of embarrassment and guilt. Binge eating disorder is much less common than pure overeating and is usually associated with many more physical and mental-health effects.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2015
Must Read Articles Related to Anorexia Nervosa
Abdominal Pain in Adults
Abdominal pain in adults can range from a mild stomach ache to severe pain. Examples of causes of abdominal pain in adults include learn more >>
Amenorrhea, the absence of menstrual bleeding, can be either primary or secondary. Causes of amenorrhea include problems with the hypothalamic, pituitary, ovari...learn more >>
Anxiety as a medical condition is characterized b...learn more >>