Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa
A decreased appetite or aversion to food. Anorexia nervosa is a serious psychological disorder characterized by an extreme

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anorexia ner·vo·sa -(.)nər-'vō-sə, -zə n a serious eating disorder primarily of young women in their teens and early twenties that is characterized esp. by a pathological fear of weight gain leading to faulty eating patterns, malnutrition, and usu. excessive weight loss

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a psychological illness, most common in female adolescents, in which the patients starve themselves or use other techniques, such as vomiting or taking laxatives, to induce weight loss. They are motivated by a false perception of their bodies as fat and/or a phobia of becoming fat. The result is severe loss of weight, often with amenorrhoea, and sometimes even death from starvation. The cause of the illness is complicated - problems within the family and rejection of adult sexuality are often factors involved. Patients must be persuaded to eat enough to maintain a normal body weight and their emotional disturbance is usually treated with psychotherapy. See also bulimia.

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[DSM-IV] an eating disorder primarily affecting females, usually with onset in adolescence, characterized by refusal to maintain a normal minimal body weight, intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese, and a disturbance of body image resulting in a feeling of being fat or having fat in certain areas even when extremely emaciated, undue reliance on body weight or shape for self-evaluation, and amenorrhea. Associated features often include denial of the illness and resistance to psychotherapy, depressive symptoms, markedly decreased libido, and obsessions or peculiar behavior regarding food, such as hoarding. The disorder is divided into two subtypes, a restricting type, in which weight loss is achieved primarily through diet or exercise, and a binge-eating/purging type, in which binge eating or purging behavior also occurs regularly; the latter type resembles bulimia nervosa, which is not diagnosed in the presence of anorexia nervosa.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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