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Health Promotion Unit

Eating Disorders


Anorexia Nervosa


What is it?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder where the person affected has an intense fear of becoming fat. The person will control their weight and shape through voluntary starvation and other methods such as vomiting, abusing laxatives and excessive exercising. The person affected will deny that they have a problem and wear bulky, loose fitting clothes to hide their withered appearance.


Who does it affect?

Anorexia Nervosa occurs most commonly in teenage girls of 16/17 years and young women. However, it also affects older women, teenage boys and young men. It is uncommon in women over 30 years.


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss, often severe.
  • Periods stopping.
  • Voluntary vomiting, abusing laxatives or appetite suppressants, and excessive exercise.
  • Insomnia.
  • A preoccupation with food, calories and weight
  • Feeling fat or claiming to look fat, even when very thin.
  • Dizziness.
  • Intolerance to cold and a lowered body temperature.
  • Slowed heart rate, low blood pressure and poor blood circulation.
  • Constipation and abdominal pain.
  • Serious complications affecting the heart, kidneys, brain, etc. which can be fatal.
  • Osteoporosis (Brittle Bones).


What is the treatment for Anorexia Nervosa?

Support, from family and friends, is a vital part of the recovery. The person may need to be hospitalised depending on the severity of weight loss and the physical damage caused. They will be encouraged to talk about the emotional difficulties that may have led to the eating disorder. The treatment will also include exploring the physical damage done, and learning about the disorder. The aim will be to restore and maintain a healthy weight and to establish a healthy eating pattern.


This information was supplied by Bodywhys

Support on campus is provided by the Health Promotion Office, the Medical Centre, the Counsellor Centre, and the Chaplaincy Team


























Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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