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- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of helplessness
- Fear of becoming overweight
- Pressure to be thin
- Families that are overprotective, rigid, not involved, or in conflict
- Family history of eating disorders
- Emotional stress
- Mood disorders, such as depression or generalized anxiety disorder
- Personality disorders
- Influenced by social and fashion trends emphasizing or glamorizing thinness
- Excessive weight loss
- Obsession with food, calories, and fat content
- Dieting even when thin
- Intense fear of gaining weight, even when underweight
- Body dysmorphia—distorted self-image of being overweight despite evidence of the opposite
- Basing self-evaluation heavily on body weight or shape
- Loss of menstrual periods or delay in the beginning of periods
- Excessive exercising
- Feeling cold, especially hands and feet
- Being secretive about food
- Hair loss and/or growth of fine hair on the body
- Fainting or severe light-headedness
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Heart palpitations
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- Blood teststo look for chemical imbalances
- Electrocardiogram (EKG)—to check your heart's electrical activity
- Bone density tests
- Cognitive behavioral therapists—To help you develop a healthier and more realistic self-image. The therapist will help you find new ways to think about your body and your diet.
- Interpersonal therapy—To help you understand and cope with concerns about your relationships.
- Family therapy—Families often play a role in eating disorders. Many people cannot recover unless their families are involved in the changes. All families need to understand the disorder to provide the appropriate support.
Addressing Nutritional Status and Loss of Bone Density
- Vitamins and minerals to maintain adequate nutrition
- Hormone replacement to resume periods and prevent bone loss
- Weight is more than 25% below ideal body weight
- There are signs of serious physical or emotional deterioration
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders http://www.anad.org
National Eating Disorders Association http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.cmha.ca
National Eating Disorder Information Center http://www.nedic.ca
Anorexia nervosa. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 20, 2013. Accessed July 22, 2013.
Anorexia nervosa fact sheet. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/anorexia-nervosa.html. Updated July 16, 2012. Accessed July 22, 2013.
Casper RC. How useful are pharmacological treatments in eating disorders? Psychopharmacol Bulletin. 2002;36:88-104.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 00/52/2014