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Anorexia Nervosa: Just The Facts

A young person affected by anorexia has not made a lifestyle choice but is very ill.

Anorexia may start with dieting or doing lots of exercise which can spiral out of control. This may be linked to a time of stress or change.

Young people affected by anorexia have a real fear of gaining weight; even when they are underweight or malnourished.  They often have worries about their body image, their body shape or size, or the way they look. The person’s self-worth can become totally defined by the way they think they look.

As a result, young people with anorexia eat very little, if at all, and can become dangerously underweight or lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. Many young people affected by anorexia restrict their food intake by dieting and doing lots of exercising. These young people can become preoccupied by calorie counting or fixated with trying to eat as little as possible and avoiding of certain foods.

Anorexia is more common in girls and young women; however, boys and young men suffer from this illness too. Anorexia often isolates young people from friends and families and can cause difficulties in close relationships.

How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your public health nurse.

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