Is anorexia nervosa an eating disorder?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. A person with anorexia nervosa practices self-starvation. Other symptoms of this disorder are a consuming fear of weight gain, too much exercise, low self-esteem, withdrawal, dry or yellow skin, looking thin, changes in menstrual cycle, lack of emotion, digestive problems, dizziness, low blood pressure, heart problems, and dehydration. If you think you or your loved one might have anorexia nervosa, speak to your doctor as soon as possible.

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes, Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a diagnosable eating disorder. AN is considered a psychiatric disorder characterized by atypical eating resulting in severe weight loss. People with anorexia have an extreme fear of gaining weight, and attempt to maintain a weight far less than normal. They will do almost anything to avoid gaining weight, including starving themselves or exercising too much. People with anorexia have a distorted body image. They think they are overweight or even obese, even when they are extremely thin.

Anorexia is an emotional disorder that focuses on food, but it is actually an attempt to deal with perfectionism and a desire to gain control by strictly regulating food and weight. People with anorexia often feel that their self-esteem is tied to how thin they are.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.