What is anorexia nervosa? types and possible complications

What are the different types of anorexia?

There are two subgroups of anorexic behavior aimed at reducing caloric intake, including the following:

  • Restrictor type. An individual severely limits the intake of food, especially carbohydrates and fat containing foods.
  • Bulimia (also called binge-eating or purging type). An individual eats in binges and then induces vomiting and/or takes large amounts of laxatives or other cathartics (medications, through their chemical effects, that serve to increase the clearing of intestinal contents).

What are the symptoms of anorexia nervosa?

The following are the most common symptoms of anorexia. However, each child may experience signs differently.

Symptoms may include:

  • Significantly low body weight due to restriction of food intake relative to requirements
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or persistent behaviors like severe dieting and exercise that prevent weight gain when underweight
  • Inability to accurately assess weight, size, or shape and seeing oneself as fat, even though underweight

The following are the most common physical symptoms associated with anorexia nervosa–often that result from starvation and malnutrition. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Dry skin that when pinched and released, stays pinched
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Intolerance to cold temperatures
  • Emaciation
  • Development of lanugo (fine, downy body hair)
  • Yellowing of the skin
  • Loss of menstrual periods in girls

People with anorexia may also be socially withdrawn, irritable, moody, and/or depressed. The symptoms of anorexia nervosa may resemble other medical problems or psychiatric conditions. Always consult your child’s doctor for a diagnosis.

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