Anorexia Nervosa

Commonly Expressed Behaviors:

  • Eating very little
  • Limiting intake to very low-calorie, low-fat foods such as carrots, celery, diet soda, water, etc.
  • Laxative abuse (and/or diuretics, enemas)
  • Excessive exercise
  • Self-mutilation
  • Vomiting after eating even small amounts of food

Other Signs:

  • Deliberately underweight or emaciated
  • Eating rituals
  • Dressing rituals
  • Dressing to show off thinness or dressing to hide
  • Pleasure at negative or concerned comments about appearance
  • High achiever / perfectionistic tendencies
  • Loss of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Facial hair or increase in body hair (hirsutism, lanugo)
  • Hair loss
  • Always cold
  • Overwhelming fear of body fat and food
  • Distorted body image (see "fat" all over, even when dying from starvation)
  • Preoccupation with self
  • Depression
  • Denial of physical hunger (both to self and to others)
  • Angry / defensive when questioned about behavior and denies existence of a problem (some will at first seem compliant, but ultimately will not change and will attempt to deceive you)
  • Low expectation of changing behavior, often doesn't want