What is anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a severe eating disorder characterized by a distorted body image that leads to restricted eating, over exercise and other behaviors that prevents a person from gaining weight or maintaining a healthy weight.
What causes anorexia nervosa?
The cause of anorexia nervosa is not known. Anorexia nervosa usually can begin as innocent dieting or increased exercising for health or fitness, but then progresses to extreme and unhealthy weight loss. Genetic factors may play a role in increasing the risk for anorexia nervosa. Other mental health problems, such as anxiety disorders or affective disorders, are commonly found in teens with anorexia nervosa.
Who is affected by anorexia nervosa?
The majority of those affected are females (90 to 95 percent), although those statistics are changing as males are now more frequently identified. Anorexia nervosa can be found in all socioeconomic groups and ethnic and racial groups.