People suffering from Anorexia restrict their calorie intake for long periods of time, deliberately starving themselves. A loss in body weight of at least fifteen percent is the criterion generally used to define an anorexic.
Anorexia, or Anorexia Nervosa, can manifest itself in two different types of behaviors:
- Restricting – when a person simply doesn’t eat;
- Binge Eating (Bingeing) or Purging – when a person eats to excess and then relies on self-induced vomiting, or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas to compensate for the food intake.
An individual suffering from Anorexia may have some of the following symptoms. Not all of these symptoms need be present for the individual to be considered Anorexic.
- Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimal normal weight for the individual’s age and height;
- An intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though the individual is actually underweight;
- Disturbed feelings about the shape of their body or the way their body weight is distributed;
- An intense fear of becoming obese;
- A distorted, unrealistic body image;
- For women, loss of menstrual cycle.