Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss, or difficulties keeping a healthy weight. Many people with anorexia have a distorted body image, and usually restrict the number of calories they take in, along with having certain foods they refuse to eat. Some people with the disorder also compulsively exercise or purge. Anorexia can affect all different kinds of people. The disorder usually begins during adolescence.
To be diagnosed with anorexia the following criteria must be met:
1. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.
2. Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
3. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
Even if all these criteria are not met, an eating disorder may still be present.