This entry describes the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. Although anorexia nervosa most commonly affects adolescent girls and young women, it can be seen in many stages of life and in both women and men. In this entry, anorexia nervosa is described broadly and then the epidemiology, etiology, medical complications, treatment, and prognosis are reviewed.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and psychological illness characterized by a distorted body image, an intense fear of gaining weight, and a relentless, excessive restriction of food intake resulting in abnormally low body weight. Anorexia nervosa is a distinct disorder from anorexia, which is the medical term for unintentional loss of appetite, often in the setting of other serious medical illness. Individuals with anorexia nervosa often have a ...

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