Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms

Psychological Symptoms

  • Restricting or ceasing food consumption
  • An intense fear of weight gain
  • Weighing under 85% of normal body weight
  • Excessive exercising
  • Viewing your body as overweight, even when it is thin
  • Secretive about eating or only eating when alone
  • Abnormal eating habits or rituals

Physical Symptoms

  • Constipation
  • Low body weight or rapid weight loss
  • Dry skin
  • Unusually small breasts
  • Thinning hair or hair loss
  • Lack of menstrual cycle or menstrual cycle abnormalities
  • Brittle nails
  • Low body temperature
  • Slower than normal heartbeat (usually less than 60 beats per nute)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Increased tolerance for pain
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Purplish skin hue
  • Yellowish skin hue on hands


The cause of anorexia is believed to be a combination of emotional, social, and physical triggers, but the exact cause is unknown.

Genetics are believed to be one of the largest factors in developing anorexia. Individuals who develop anorexia are more likely to have a family history of eating disorders, mood disorders, depression, anxiety, and obesity.

Sometimes anorexia can be partially caused by over dieting, which alters the way the body metabolizes food. This causes individuals to become more susceptible to eating disorders.
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In some individuals, trauma or personal difficulties can result in the development of anorexia. This is especially common in teens and young adults. External stresses, such as a death, trauma, divorce, or move can trigger the onset of anorexia.
It is also believed that particular personality traits can cause anorexia, such as low self-confidence and perfectionism. This can be due to social or family pressures.

Risk Factors

  • Personality traits, such as low self-esteem, and perfectionism.
  • Emotional conditions, such as depression, and anxiety.
  • A family history of anorexia, bulimia, obesity, depression, or anxiety.
  • Family, social, or cultural pressures that emphasise perfection and physical beauty.


There are currently no known methods of preventing the development of anorexia. Most doctors recommend early recognition of the symptoms and immediate treatment. If you or someone you know may be suffering from anorexia, visit the doctor immediately and get help.

Prevention for Parents

Parents should educate themselves about the causes and symptoms of anorexia. Most doctors believe that anorexia is caused, at least in part, by social and family pressures. It’s important that parents speak with their children about developing a healthy body image. Parents should also promote positive thinking through compliments and constructive criticism.

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Additionally, parents should teach their children how to lead healthy and active lifestyles. Exercise should be fun and an important part of every childern’s life. Parents should educate their children about ways to take care of their bodies and live healthy lives.

Parents should avoid punishing or rewarding children through the use of offering or restricting food. This can create a negative association with eating that may lead to the development of anorexia.


There is no standard test for determining whether or not an individual is suffering from anorexia. The symptoms of anorexia are usually fairly apparent and can be diagnosed through observation or patient information.

If patients appear to be suffering from an eating disorder, the doctor will usually ask him or her a series of questions. The questions will help the doctor determine whether or not an eating disorder is the cause of the patients symptoms.

Additionally, the doctor will check patients for signs of malnutrition, which is caused by not obtaining the proper level of nutrients from food.

There are several other tests and exams that are commonly administered to patients exhibiting symptoms of anorexia, including:

  • A standard physical examination. The doctor will check the patients heart, blood pressure, weight, lungs, skin, and hair. This will help determine whether or not the patient is experiencing malnutrition.
  • The doctor will also look through the patients medical history to determine the patients mental, emotional, and physical health. This will help the doctor rule out any other causes of the symptoms.
  • A mental health assessment will most likely be performed by the doctor or another trained professional. This will help determine if depression, anxiety, or any other emotional disorder is causing the symptoms of anorexia.
  • Blood tests may also be administered to check for signs of malnutrition.
  • An x-ray may be performed to determine whether or not the patient has experienced bone weakening as a result of malnutrition.
  • Heart or kidney tests are sometimes performed in severe cases of anorexia or weight loss that may have lead to organ damage.

Treatment Options

Individuals suffering from anorexia need to seek immediate medical intervention. Generally, this involves seeing a general physician and a counselor that can work through the emotional issues associated with anorexia. While there is no set treatment plan for anorexia, the disorder is considered to be a treatable condition.

The counselor will help patients work through the underlying causes of anorexia, which are usually emotional issues or pressures from family, friends, or society. Assessing and working through the underlying causes of anorexia is vital to a proper treatment plan. Only treating the issue at its surface will encourage the anorexia to return throughout the patients life.

Anorexia treatment becomes much easier once the body gains weight and is able to heal. Once the body is able to pull itself out of starvation mode, the mind and body begin to work their way back into sync. This allows the individual to think more clearly and make decisions about their physical and mental health.

Behavioural family therapy may also be recommended, especially in cases involving parents, children, or spouses. The therapy will help train the family to deal with the issue of anorexia. Family members will learn how to be more supportive and understanding of the individual suffering from anorexia. This will help develop a support system for the patient that can help lead to a faster and lasting recovery.

Group therapy may also be recommended. Group therapy provides an atmosphere that is comfortable and encourages discussions. Many individuals suffering from anorexia find encouragement in other people battling the disorder. Group therapy can also build a strong support system for the patient.
Anorexia Remedies
Parents of children or teens suffering from anorexia may be encouraged to take control over the childern’s eating habits.

This will allow the parents and the doctors to ensure that the child is getting the nutrients that he or she needs to recover and return to a healthy weight.

The child will slowly earn back his or her right to determine when and what he or she eats.


In severe cases of anorexia, hospitalization may be necessary. Patients may be admitted to a hospital if they are believed to be at risk of suicide, starvation, or a medical crisis. The hospital will ensure that the patient is stable and capable of continuing treatment outside of a medical facility.

Individuals who are not considered high risk are usually treated at an outpatient facility.

Home Remedies

When treating anorexia, the largest concern is nutrition and weight gain. The best home remedy for anorexia is a balanced diet. Individuals suffering from anorexia should start their treatment by eating several small meals throughout the day. Eating as much as possible and as often as possible will result in the stomach slowly stretching to accommodate more food. As more food is consumed, the body is better able to heal and the mind achieves a higher level of clarity. This will improve the Individuals ability to recover from anorexia.

While eating a balanced diet is the best remedy for individuals suffering from anorexia, it can also be a treatment that is difficult to maintain. Many individuals with anorexia have difficulty feeling hungry and may have stomachs that are too small to accommodate large meals.

There are a number of home remedies that can help increase appetite, which will lead to weight gain and adequate nutrition in individuals with anorexia.

Fresh Fruits & Natural Remedies

Fresh fruits can effectively treat anorexia because they promotes an increase in appetite. Those suffering from anorexia should eat 2-3 oranges per day to increase appetite. Apples also effectively increase appetite and provide fiber that encourages proper digestion.

One of the most popular home remedies for the treatment of anorexia is ginger and rock salt. The ginger should be cut into a small piece with the skin removed. A paste should be created by smashing the ginger and adding a few drops of lemon juice, a small pinch of rock salt, and a black pepper. This paste should be eaten once daily on an empty stomach and is said to increase appetite.

A salad eaten before each meal is another effective treatment for anorexia. The salad should have a small sprinkle of rock salt, pepper, and lemon. This will create an appetite in individuals with anorexia and encourage them to eat larger meals.

Garlic is another effective anorexia treatment. Those suffering from anorexia should boil 3-4 cloves of garlic in a mug or bowl. Lime juice can be added to improve the taste or the garlic water can be combined with other ingredients to create a soup. This recipe encourages a strong appetite and should be taken two times a day.

Spicy Foods

Many people believe that spicy foods help create a strong appetite. Individuals suffering from anorexia may benefit from eating several spicy meals per week.


Walnuts and almonds are a good source of nutrients and also help improve emotional health. This can help treat the underlying emotional causes of anorexia.

Yoga & Meditation

Yoga, meditation, and a personal journal can all help combat the emotional causes of anorexia. Good mental health is the key to recovering from anorexia.

In addition to home remedies, there are a number of herbs that have been proven to promote appetite. These herbs can be boiled into a tea or used as dressings for salads.

  • Chamomile
  • Marjoram
  • Hawthorn
  • Myrrh
  • Gentian
  • Hops
  • Thyme
  • Wormwood
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Lavender
  • Yarrow
  • Centaury
  • Rosemary
  • Basil

Pharmaceutical Remedies

There currently are no medications that specifically treat anorexia, however, many doctors will prescribe medications to treat the underlying causes of anorexia. These medications will usually be in the form of an antidepressant medication, which will help the individual return to a normal state of emotional health. Antidepressant medications help with a variety of emotional and mood disorders, which may cause or contribute to anorexia.

It is important that individuals suffering from anorexia talk to their doctor before taking any medications. This includes medications that are not a part of the anorexia treatment plan. Anorexia causes the body to shrink in size, which can result in medications building up in the body in an amount that is too high to process and can be dangerous. Additionally, changes in the body due to anorexia can decrease or increase the effectiveness of various medications.

Patients experiencing malnutrition will be either placed on dietary supplements or sent to a dietitian or health care specialist. Ensuring that the patient is not suffering from malnutrition is an important step towards the recovery process. Malnutrition can cause a number of painful and long term side effects and must be treated immediately and thoroughly.

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