Anorexia nervosa—which is often referred to simply as anorexia—is an eating disorder in which people “have an intense fear of gaining weight,” says WebMD. In order to prevent this weight gain, they severely limit their consumption of food and, as a result, become incredibly thin.
The disorder tends to begin during adolescence, and although it most commonly affects women, it’s possible for men to develop anorexia as well. The chances of a person recovering from the eating disorder is higher depending on how soon it is treated, so be mindful if a loved one begins exhibiting any of the following 12 common physical symptoms.
1. Extreme Weight Loss
One of the primary, and most visible symptoms of anorexia is extreme weight loss that occurs over a short period of time, for which there is no medical cause. As mentioned briefly in the introduction, this weight loss is intentional, and results from a person severely restricting the amount of food they eat.
They may also avoid eating entirely, often starving themselves in order to achieve their desired weight loss. Unfortunately, the Mayo Clinic says, “No matter how weight loss is achieved, the person with anorexia has an intense fear of gaining weight.”