How do I know if I have anorexia?

The following are the most common symptoms of anorexia. However, your symptoms could be different.

Symptoms may include:

  • Low body weight (less than 85 percent of normal weight for height and age)
  • Intense fear of becoming obese, even as individual is losing weight
  • Distorted view of your body weight, size, or shape. You may see yourself as being fat even when you are not fat and may even be underweight
  • Refuses to maintain minimum normal body weight
  • In females, absence of three menstrual cycles without another cause
  • Excessive physical activity in order to promote weight loss
  • Denies feelings of hunger
  • Preoccupation with food preparation
  • Bizarre eating behaviors

The following are the most common physical symptoms associated with anorexia–often that result from starvation and malnourishment. Symptoms may include:

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

Some of these symptoms may also come as a result of cancer treatment. You should speak with your oncologist if you have any of the symptoms above.

People with anorexia may also be socially withdrawn, irritable, moody, and/or depressed.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.