Health conditions

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is mental illness characterised by a relentless desire to lose weight.

What causes anorexia nervosa?

There is no one cause of anorexia nervosa.

What are the signs and symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of anorexia nervosa can include:

  • sudden or significant weight loss
  • sudden or significant reduction in amount of food eaten or in types of foods eaten
  • loss of menstrual period
  • preoccupation with food and weight.

Another sign can include weight and body shape being more important to the person in how they see themselves than it usually would.

Seeking help and treatment early is associated with an improved outcome.

Anorexia nervosa can affect all aspects of a person’s wellbeing including physical, intellectual, emotional, behavioural, social and interpersonal areas. It can lead severe health problems and even death.

Where to get help                                 

  • Eating Disorders Program, Specialised Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service, Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • See your doctor.
  • Visit a GP after hours.
  • Ring healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222.

Child and Adolescent Health Service

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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