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Signs, Symptoms, and Complications Associated with

Anorexia Nervosa

Signs, Symptoms, and Complications Associated with

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms and Signs

Anorexia Nervosa symptoms include: Feeling worried, preoccupied or sad about body shape or weight among other symptoms of anorexia.Do you ever wonder if your unhealthy eating behavior is transforming into an eating disorder. One moment you are starting a new diet and within weeks or months you are obsessed with your weight, body image and calorie counts. Eating disorders are never started intentionally. You do not wake up one morning and decide you are going to engage in binging and purging behaviors but rather anorexia nervosa results from progressive disordered eating behaviors that result due to underlying negative emotions and triggers. In other words, you are using food and weight loss as a way to cope with unresolved issues and feelings and as an alternative means to control your weight and caloric intake when other areas in your life have spiraled out of control.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an unhealthy disturbance in body shape, a refusal to maintain a minimum body weight, and an intense fear of gaining weight. Most individuals associate anorexia nervosa with starvation, food restriction and excessive exercise and although this is true, there is also a binging and purging subtype of anorexia nervosa. Individuals with anorexia nervosa regardless of the specific sub-type will most often show the following signs and symptoms overtime:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Dry skin
  • The appearance of fine, white body hair (lanugo)
  • Shrinkage of breast (atrophy)
  • Missed menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Thinning hair
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Bluish coloration of extremities (acrocyanosis)
  • Loose skin
  • Extremity swelling (edema)
  • Brittle nails
  • Constipation
  • Intolerance of cold temperatures
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Dizziness

Behaviors associated with Anorexia Nervosa

  • Avoiding social situations where food may be present
  • Using laxatives, diet pills or diuretics
  • Engaging in self-induced vomiting
  • Binging
  • Engaging in excessive exercise
  • Becoming obsessed with counting calories and body weight
  • Refusing to eat out of concern for weight gain
  • Engaging in the “pro ana or pro anorexia” community
  • Wearing bagging clothes to cover up the excessive weight loss
  • Wearing layered clothing to keep warm even during warm temperatures
  • Cooking meals for others but refusing to eat them
  • Obsession with body size and shape
  • Adopting eating rituals such as cutting food into tiny pieces
  • Complaining about being overweight
  • Making excuses not to eat

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Center For Discovery's Treatment Centers specialize in treatment for eating disorders, mental health and dual diagnosis treatment with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.

For more information, resources, or to consult with one of our specialists, call 866.809.3843

Individuals who are classified in the binge/purge subtype can specifically develop submandibular/parotid gland swelling characterized by swelling around the jaw line and poor dentition secondary to self-induced vomiting which erodes the dental enamel resulting in cavities. Additionally it is common to find excoriations or scabs and scars on the back of the hands or knuckles in individuals who take part in self-induced vomiting via means of sticking their hands down their throat which causes these breaks in the skin.

Long term effects associated with Anorexia Nervosa

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Malabsorption
  • Early satiety (fullness)
  • Heart failure
  • Bone density loss
  • Infertility
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Kidney failure

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Do I have an eating disorder?

Does my loved one have an eating disorder?

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