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Anorexia Warning Signs


Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder that may initially be hard to spot.

In general, anorexics tend to be skilled at hiding their behavior and may seem – on the outside – like healthy and happy individuals. Warning signs are typically present, however, and with proper intervention, better outcomes can be achieved.

Emotional and behavioral signs

One of the hallmark anorexia warning signs is an intense fear of gaining weight. People with this disorder tend to think they are overweight or fat even if, by "normal" standards, they look thin.

Along with having a distorted body image, anorexics tend to behave secretively about food and will often engage in over-exercising so as to compensate for eating. Anorexics may also be extremely restrictive about what they eat, eliminating entire food groups or changing their diet frequently. The person may also complain at lot about his or her body, making self-critical remarks.

Physical signs

The physical signs of anorexia are subtle but can include things like gradual weight loss, protruding bones, thinning hair and dry or brittle nails. Anorexic women may also have shrunken breasts and can stop having normal menstrual cycles, which is referred to as amenhorrhea.

Other physical symptoms include feeling cold all of the time, having low blood pressure and experiencing constipation or a slow emptying of the stomach. If an anorexic also has bulimia, he or she may also have acid erosion of the teeth.

More serious cases of anorexia can result in lanugo, which is the presence of thin hairs that develop in areas of the body that do not usually grow hair, like the back or the nose.

Food rituals

Another anorexia warning sign is the presence of unusual or detailed food rituals at meal time. The person may have special ways to eat, cut or consume food, or the person may prepare large meals for others that he or she does not eat.

Hiding or hoarding food is also a warning sign as it may indicate the person is pretending to eat but then secretly stashing food to get rid of it later.

If you suspect someone you care about may have anorexia, it is best to assist that person in getting a medical and psychological consultation. Additionally, seek help immediately if suicidal thoughts or behaviors are present.

Source: Web MD