How to Recognize the Symptoms of Anorexia

Looking for Symptoms


Look at the eating habits of teens. Many become overly concerned with calorie-counting and food labeling. Many teens will begin to refuse to eat in public and will often play with their food instead of consuming it.


Check the height-to-weight ratio of the teen-ager in question. Teens suffering from anorexia will have a body weight that is inconsistent with their height, build and age.


Look for signs of excessive exercise, food restriction and use of laxatives in daily life.


Talk to the person involved. See if any of the following are characteristic of the teen in question: Does he report heightened anxiety, especially around food? Does she report that she missed three consecutive menstrual periods? Is there evidence of a general weakness, shortness of breath or brittle skin?


Seek professional help if the above symptoms become apparent. Left untreated anorexia can lead to shrunken bones, mineral loss, low body temperature, irregular heartbeat, osteoporosis and even death.

Tips and Warnings

  • Above all, if you suspect anorexia remember that the best way to aid the sufferer is to be supportive in getting her professional help.
  • Anorexia is a serious illness that will not go away on its own. Supportive professional intervention is necessary.
  • Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that affects approximately 10 percent of teen-agers today. If left untreated it can become a long-term problem that can extend into adulthood, leading to a lifetime of health and medical issues.