Written by Raina Zaman. Reviewed by Emily Fultz, MS, RD, LDN
Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder that surrounds a person having a distorted image of their body, which causes them to indulge in unhealthy diets that lead to extreme weight loss. Although AN is more commonly associated with food restriction, some individuals may also try to control their calorie intake by self induced vomiting, laxative use, and diet pills.
Individuals with anorexia nervosa often have a weight that is significantly lower than what’s expected of their age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health. On the other hand, some people with anorexia nervosa may not appear underweight or unhealthy, but they are in fact malnourished.
*there is no one cause of anorexia nervosa*
Biology: Individuals can inherit a vulnerability to anorexia nervosa if someone in their family had it.
Sociocultural: Seeing unrealistic body images may cause individuals to feel insecure and lead to unhealthy habits and thoughts. In the media being thin is considered being beautiful, and in many cultures being thin is the beauty standard.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): Individuals with OCD are inclined to obsessions and compulsions, so they might follow a strict diet and exercise regimen consistently.
Behavioral + Psychological:
The treatment plan for the patient typically involves a multidisciplinary team, consisting of a physician, registered dietitian, psychologist/therapist, and a psychiatrist.