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10 Common Symptoms of Anorexia

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Anorexia is an eating disorder, where sufferers obsess about their weight and everything they eat. People with anorexia often have a inaccurate body image. They look in the mirror and think they are fat, no matter how much they weigh.

Anorexia is a psychological and sometimes life-threatening disorder. Treatment, including therapy, may be necessary to restore a healthy weight, self-esteem, and behavior for the patient. 

Symptom 1: Weight Loss/Starvation

Have you lost an abnormal amount of weight? Do you starve yourself, so you can lose weight? Starving yourself may help you to lose weight fast, but it is an unsafe and unhealthy method.

Anorexia does not allow you to get adequate calories and nutrition. So, your body burns fat and muscle. Losing too much weight can be very dangerous and life-threatening.

Symptom 2: Extremely Thin

Are you really thin? Too thin? Do you always worry about how many calories you eat? How much fat is in your food? Do you use diet pills, laxatives, and other medications?

You may want to be thin, but you can take it too far. Being too thin can lead to health issues, which can be permanent and possibly lead to death.

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Symptom 3: Fatigue

Do you get tired easily? Is it because you are not eating enough due to anorexia? Not eating enough and getting enough sleep can cause extreme fatigue.

In a HealthUnlocked forum, one patient stated: “I'm in recovery from anorexia but this fatigue is debilitating. It's ruining my life. Everyone else I know that has gained weight and doing 'ok' are either doing voluntary work or in a full-time position. This leads me to think this fatigue has nothing to do with the amount of food or types of foods I'm eating. Even my friends that are still extremely underweight are working and doing more than I am. It's driving me mad. Does anyone else think this could be m.e.? Is it common for anorexia to cause m.e.? I can't find any links on the net. Any ideas would be great. Thank u. Stressed and fed up person :-(.”

Symptom 4: Insomnia

Are you able to fall asleep? Stay asleep? Anorexia puts your body into starvation mode, So, it focuses on finding food, which can keep you awake.

A patient stated on Myproana.com: “Does anyone know if there's a relation between insomnia and anorexia? I don't sleep anymore. Well, unless you call 4 hours a night sleeping. Does anyone know the reason behind this? Just curious. Because you would think that with this disorder that our bodies would be tired, and we'd sleep more.”

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Symptom 5: Dizziness

Do you feel dizzy? Faint? Anorexia can make you feel dizzy due to low body weight and nutritional deficiencies.

On Christianforums.com, one posting stated: “I went to the pharmacist and asked what was wrong...since I would awaken in the mornings, not even out of bed feeling dizzy like my eyes couldn't focus. It was like my brain couldn't stop spinning. Yes, I was anorexic, but I was also on any given diet pill at the time to quell my stomach's growling for food.”

Symptom 6: Compulsive Exercise

Are you addicted to exercise? Do you exercise after eating anything? Anorexia sometimes make you exercise excessively to lose or not gain weight.

Tabitha Farrar started a blog about recognizing excessive exercising as a symptom of anorexia and other eating disorders. “What my Dr never asked me about was the extent that I was exercising. I was eating, but that was on the condition that I exercised for over six hours a day. In a sense, my Anorexia was hiding in plain sight. I was eating. I could not be accused of not eating. As excessive exercise was not listed as a symptom of Anorexia, however, I evaded diagnosis despite presenting at a ludicrously low weight.”

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Symptom 7: Menstruation

With anorexia, rather than regular periods, you may have infrequent or absent menstruation. Not having your period is referred to as amenorrhea.

A National Eating Disorders forum has a post that states: “I am 24 and I have been anorexic/bulimic for about 4.5 years. During this time, I lost my period. About 4-5 months ago, I started to want to recover but I wasn't ready to give up my eating disorder completely, so I kept up with some behaviors. This helped me gain to a more healthy weight and ‘fooled’ some people, but I was still using behaviors daily. On December 22nd I got my period for the first time in 4+ years. I was so excited! It was light and only lasted three days, but it still gave me hope that I hadn't completely destroyed by body and could one day have kids.”

Symptom 8: Constipation

Dehydration occurs when you lose too much weight, starve yourself, and use laxatives and other supplements. Constipation is common with anorexia because you are bot drinking and eating enough for your digestive system to work properly.

For example, on anorexic patient stated on Go Ask Alice: “I am a sufferer of anorexia nervosa. I am slowly overcoming the problem without the help of a doctor. I decided to eat normally and take vitamins. However, I have problems passing a stool. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, but even though the stools are soft, they are still hard to pass. Also, there is some mucus in the stools. Do you know what is the cause of it? I'm sorry for the nasty details.”

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Symptom 9: Low Blood Pressure

Anorexia affects your heart muscle, resulting in low blood pressure. Also, a lower body temperature, dehydration, and poor nutrition from anorexia lead to low blood pressure.

Blood pressure that is less than 90/50 is quite common in anorexic patients with less than 80 percent of an ideal body weight.

Symptom 10: Low Body Temperature

Do you feel cold, especially your hands? Do you get chills? Have to wear layers of clothes? A low body temperature with anorexia is due to malnutrition and loss of your insulating layer of fat.

A posting on Myproana.com stated: “I’ve noticed that whenever I’m sick I have a normal temperature of 98.8 so I wanted to check my temperature while I’m not sick like right now, and I had a temperature of 93.4??? I wanted to make sure that restricting really low makes you feel cold and not make your body temperature go down because this is really low, and I don’t know why?”

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