Home Eating Disorders Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a psychological illness with devastating physical consequences. Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by low body weight and body image distortion with an obsessive fear of gaining weight which manifests itself through depriving the body of food. It often coincides with increased levels of exercise.

Anorexia Nervosa usually develops during adolescence and generally has an earlier age of onset than Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder (the latter are often developed during late adolescence or early adulthood). However like all eating disorders, Anorexia Nervosa can be developed at any age or stage of life for both males and females.

Anorexia Nervosa is the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses. Extreme food restriction can lead to starvation, malnutrition and a dangerously low body weight – all of which are synonymous with a host of health problems, and in some cases death.

Types of Anorexia Nervosa

There are two main sub-types of anorexia:

Restricting type:  this is the most commonly known type of Anorexia Nervosa whereby a person severely restricts their food intake.  Restriction may take many forms (e.g. maintaining very low calorie count; restricting types of food eaten; eating only one meal a day) and may follow obsessive and rigid rules (e.g. only eating food of one colour).

Binge-eating or purging type:  less recognised; a person restricts their intake as above, but also during some bouts of restriction the person has regularly engaged in binge-eating OR purging behaviour (e.g. self induced vomiting, over-exercise, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).

To download a fact sheet on Anorexia Nervosa, please click here.

Read more:

Physical effects of Anorexia

Psychological effects of Anorexia

Behavioural effects of Anorexia

Books about Anorexia

Books about eating disorder recovery

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