The essential component of anorexia nervosa is an intense preoccupation with one’s weight despite the fact that the individual is significantly underweight. There is distortion in the perception of one’s body image and a tremendous dread of gaining weight. Anorectics greatly overestimate their weight although they can correctly estimate their height. Additionally, there may be a tremendous fear of losing control.
Individuals may either restrict their eating excessively or engage in binge eating which is then followed by self-induced vomiting. In an attempt to reduce their weight, individuals may also exercise excessively, induce vomiting or use laxatives or diuretics.
Anorexia nervosa is more commonly diagnosed in teen-age girls although boys can also be diagnosed. More frequently, they indicate that their behavior started as a result of improving muscle definition.
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