Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is an illness that most commonly occurs in teenage girls, but it can also occur in teenage boys, and adult women and men. People with anorexia are obsessed with being thin. They lose a lot of weight and are terrified of gaining weight. They believe they are fat even though they are very thin. Anorexia isn’t just a problem with food or weight. It’s an attempt to use food and weight to deal with emotional problems.

Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by an individual’s struggle to maintain their weight at or above a minimally normal level. This struggle is associated with an intense fear of weight gain and a disturbance in the way they perceive their weight and shape, eg. unable to identify the seriousness of low weight and the consequences it may have. Anorexia has many impacts on physical health – one of these is the absence of at least three consecutive cycles in females (amenorrhea).

There are two main types of Anorexia Nervosa – these are restricting and binge-eating/purging type. The restricting type is characterised by a lack of regularly binge-eating or vomiting, misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas. Instead this type primarily involves fasting/starvation and over exercise. The binge-eating/purging type is characterised by regular binge-eating or vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas.