Do You Have Anorexia Nervosa? Know the Warning Signs

Anorexia nervosa is such a serious condition that you'd think people would know if they're suffering from it. Surprisingly though, most people with this eating disorder, particularly in the early stages, don't even realize that they have a problem.
People may realize they have issues with food or weight gain, but the problem usually comes on gradually. It becomes your norm; you may never think things are that bad.
Here are some symptoms of anorexia that are huge red flags. If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to your health care provider or a counselor.

Your Weight

If you are considered underweight, that could be a red flag that you have anorexia. You might want to talk to a doctor.

Don't go by weight alone, however. Some people are naturally underweight without having anorexia. Some people who have anorexia are average weight, or may even be obese. Consider other symptoms before you decide you don't have a problem.

Obsession

One of the first signs of anorexia is an obsession with anything weight-related. You may feel you have to measure and consider every calorie carefully, and to restrict yourself from eating at times. You may be obsessed with the number on the scale or your body measurements, and feel passionately driven to decrease them. Dieting, exercise, and other weight-loss issues, consume your thoughts and may even get in the way of other things, like your responsibilities or your social life.

Physical Signs

Losing weight excessively and quickly is a common sign of anorexia, but it's not the only physical sign. You may also notice you often feel fatigued, weak, or dizzy. You may find yourself ignoring hunger pangs.

You may get colder easier or experience hair loss. Your doctor may notice your blood pressure is low, or lab work may (but not always) begin to show nutritional deficiencies.

Women may notice that their menstrual cycle is erratic or that their periods are getting lighter.

Mood

Anorexia can affect your emotional state. Partly this is because you're depriving yourself of food, and your body isn't happy about it, so you feel physically horrible. All those physical symptoms mentioned above can put you in a bad mood.

Another part of this is the emotional stress due to the fear, anxiety, and depression that come with eating disorders. Concern about gaining weight, stress overeating, worrying about people finding out about your disorder—all of these can indicate that you're not just on a diet or a health kick; you have a problem.

Sources: Healthline, Eating Recovery Center, Rosewood Ranch

Photo: Pixabay

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