What is anorexia nervosa?
A person with anorexia (a-neh-RECK-see-ah) nervosa, often called anorexia, has an intense fear of gaining weight. Someone with anorexia thinks about food a lot and limits the food she or he eats, even though she or he is too thin. Anorexia is more than just a problem with food. It's a way of using food or starving oneself to feel more in control of life and to ease tension, anger, and anxiety. Most people with anorexia are female. An anorexic:
  • has a low body weight for her or his height
  • resists keeping a normal body weight
  • has an intense fear of gaining weight
  • thinks she or he is fat even when very thin (has a distorted body image)
  • misses three (menstrual) periods in a row for girls/women who have started having their periods