Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, is an eating disorder that commonly affects teenage girls and young women. The onset in young girls is usually around puberty.


  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Voluntary starvation
  • Weight management through purging, pills and exercise
  • Distorted body image
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Obsessive thoughts about weight and food
  • Low self-esteem

What is normal?

Many teenagers are self-conscious about their weight and have not yet reached their normal body size. Because teenagers experience such dramatic changes in their body in a relatively short period of time they are not able to adjust quickly to their changing physicality. Add to that our culture’s obsession with thinness and the average teenager has a lot to consider when looking in the mirror. It is very normal for teenagers to be concerned about their body image, size and weight. It’s also normal for them to not want to talk about. It is not normal when they begin to starve themselves

When you should seek help:

You should seek help if your child:

  • Is obsessed about calorie intake
  • Has rapid weight loss
  • Misses three periods in a row
  • Is weak and/or short of breath
  • Refuses to eat in public
  • Failure of normal growth

More Information