Anorexia is a life-threatening disorder that is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
- Excessive dieting, fasting, restricted diet.
- Food rituals.
- Preoccupation with body building, weight lifting or muscle toning.
- Compulsive exercise.
- Difficulty eating with others; lying about eating.
- Frequently weighing self.
- Preoccupation with food.
- Focus on certain body parts, such as buttocks, thighs, stomach, etc.
- Disgust with body size or shape.
- Distortion of body size: feels fat even though others tell him he is already very thin.
Emotional and mental characteristics:
- Intense fear of becoming fat or gaining weight.
- Social isolation; difficulty expressing feelings.
- Strong need to be in control.
- Rigid, inflexible thinking, "all or nothing."
- Decreased interest in sex or fears around sex.
- Possible conflict over gender identity or sexual orientation.
- Low sense of self-worth; uses weight as a measure of worth.
- Perfectionism: strives to be the neatest, thinnest, smartest, etc.
- Difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating.
- Irritability, denial, belief that others are overreacting to low weight or caloric restriction.
- Low body weight (15% or more below what is expected for age, height and activity level).
- Lack of energy, fatigue.
- Muscular weakness.
- Decreased balance, unsteady gait.
- Lowered body temperature, blood pressure, pulse rate.
- Tingling in hands and feet.
- Thinning hair or hair loss.
- Lanugo (downy growth of body hair).
- Heart arrhythmia.
- Lowered testosterone levels.
Provided by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA)