Anorexia almost always begins with a plan to follow a strict weight-loss diet. Limiting foods then leads to malnutrition and unhealthy weight loss.
As malnutrition sets in, the brain and Reference metabolism Opens New Window change. This limits the appetite, how your body uses food, and your ability to think clearly and make good decisions. As the illness gets worse, irrational behaviors begin, such as making rules about food or making yourself vomit out of fear of gaining weight (Reference bulimia Opens New Window).
Starvation and malnourishment from anorexia can cause Reference complications, such as Reference osteoporosis Opens New Window or an Reference irregular heartbeat Opens New Window. Often Reference other mental health conditions occur along with anorexia, such as depression.
Early treatment works best
After anorexia starts, returning to normal eating is very hard without help. When left untreated, anorexia can last for a lifetime.
Early treatment of anorexia offers the best chance of recovery. People who have anorexia tend to strongly deny that they have a problem and are secretive about their eating. So their family members or loved ones usually have to get help for them.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 25, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry