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What Are the Symptoms & Signs of Anorexia Nervosa?

One of the most common misconceptions about anorexia nervosa is that sufferers are underweight, which is not always the case. In many instances, a patient with anorexia may appear to be healthy when they are actually malnourished. That’s why it’s important to understand all the warning signs and symptoms of anorexia.

Medical Symptoms

Low Weight

Weight at or below 85 percent of Ideal Body Weight (IBW) for age

Dramatic Weight Loss

Significant/dramatic decrease in normal growth chart curve for weight


Excessive or compulsive exercise


Abnormally low heart rate

Lack of Menses

Absence of or delayed onset of or sporadic/light menses


A form of low blood pressure that happens when you stand up from sitting or lying down


Fatigue, cold-intolerance, dizziness and/or hair thinning/loss

Behavioral Warning Signs

Extreme weight loss

Calorie Restriction

Food obsession

Obsession with food, weight, calories and/or dieting

Sudden interest in diet

Sudden interest in “healthy” or clean eating, vegetarianism, veganism, elimination diets, etc.

Fear of weight gain

Not eating certain food

Refusal to eat certain foods or entire groups of foods (i.e. carbohydrates or desserts)

Strange eating habits or food rituals

Denial of hunger or weight loss

Compulsive exercising

Social withdrawal

Withdrawal from friends, family and “normal” activities/routines

Know the anorexia warning signs and how to respond

Anorexia is an incredibly serious illness. But, thankfully, anorexia treatment offers each individual a chance for full recovery.

If you suspect that you, or someone you know, may need help for anorexia, seek a medical and psychological evaluation as quickly as possible. If left untreated, there can be far-reaching and possibly life-threatening health consequences.

Please call us at 877-825-8584 to schedule a free confidential consultation with an Eating Recovery Center Masters-level clinician so we can help you learn more about effective treatment options for eating disorders.

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