What are the symptoms of Anorexia?

There are many different symptoms of anorexia: behaviours which affected individuals use to restrict their food intake and the psychological distress which is integral to the illness. People may have some of the following symptoms and behaviours:

  • Abnormal/extreme means of weight control
  • Calorie counting
  • Frequent weighing
  • Eating slowly and cutting up food very small
  • Chewing food and spitting it out
  • Irregular food intake, conflict at meal times and concern about eating with others
  • Preoccupation with food
  • Excessive exercise
  • Abdominal pain, gastrointestinal disturbance, headache
  • Mood swings, depression, anxiety, self-harm
  • Low self esteem
  • Social withdrawal
  • School refusal
  • Anxieties about psychosexual development

Some patients with anorexia nervosa achieve weight loss by dietary restriction alone (restrictive subtype) while others also show bulimic behaviours such as bingeing, vomiting and laxative misuse (binge-purge subtype).