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Warning Signs of Anorexia : Physical, Psychological and Other Warning Signs of Anorexia

Anorexia or Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person is obsessed with weight, body, and food intake to the point that he/she goes in for self-imposed starvation. Anorexia is most common in teenage girls and this disease creates long term health imbalance in patients.

Warning Signs Of Anorexia

Warning Signs Of Anorexia

Physical Warning Signs of Anorexia

Some of the physical warning signs in anorexia patients include:

Sudden Weight Loss: A person suffering from anorexia displays a sudden decrease in weight.

Frequently Changing Weight: In anorexia patients the weight keeps on fluctuating, it decreases rapidly and then there is a sudden increase, which again leads to decreasing weight

Sensitivity to Cold: Even in the warm environments, an anorexic patient feels cold.

Changes In Menstrual Cycle In Anorexic Women: Women often complain of drastic changes in their menstrual cycle when they are suffering from anorexia.

Feeling Dizzy: Anorexic patients are constantly fatigued and feel dizziness throughout the day.

Psychological Warning Signs of Anorexia

Some of the psychological warning signs of anorexia include:

  • Heightened fear of gaining weight.
  • Extreme sensitivity to comments on body shape, weight and eating habits.
  • Increased anxiousness during meal times.
  • Constant irritation.
  • Depression regarding weight.
  • Negative body image.

Other Warning Signs of Anorexia

Severe Dieting

Extreme dieting where a person is constantly calculating calories while eating, fasting and avoiding certain food groups are some of the primary warning signs of anorexia which enhance the intensity of the disease. Persistent dieting regardless of the rapidly decreasing weight, is a common warning sign of anorexia.

Binge Eating

Anorexia is a disease where the patient avoids eating meals to lose weight and ends up binge eating on other processed foods due to the uncontrollable hunger. Secret disappearance of large amounts of processed foods, which are readily edible and accumulation of wrappers in the bin are some of the warning signs of anorexia.

Compulsive & Excessive Exercise Patterns

Another warning sign of anorexia is exercising compulsively for several hours a day. In the case of anorexia, even injury and bad weather are not able to stop the anorexia patient from working out. Furthermore, getting distressed if not being able to accomplish the work out targets are also common warning signs of anorexia.

Development of Obsessive Food Patterns is a Sign of Anorexia

Anorexic patients are obsessive, such as insisting about being served the meal at the exact same time every day, using the same cutlery and same utensils are another sign of anorexia development in the patient.

Change in Food Preferences

Another anorexia sign is the change in the food preferences of the patient which are become entirely changed and become in favor of foods with lesser calories. If the earlier favorite foods had high calories, then they are suddenly shunned and this is another warning sign of anorexia.

Avoiding Eating Meals

It is common for anorexic patients to skip meals claiming they have already eaten or are not hungry. Anorexic patients even go to the extremes of pretending to be allergic to certain food types. This avoiding of meals becomes even more prominent when the patient denies going out for social gatherings due to the sheer involvement of food and is a warning sign of anorexia.

Using Unwarranted Medications

Use of medications such as Adderall or drugs like cocaine to suppress appetite is also an indication of anorexia. There also is an increase in the consumption of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills which promise weight loss and are an important indication of anorexia.

Obsession with Body Shape is a Sign of Anorexia

To anorexic patients, one’s appearance becomes a major priority and the patient has complete preoccupation with weight, body shape and size which is essentially a sign of anorexia nervosa. Some common signs of such preoccupation are constantly pinching the waist or wrists to take account of the fat, repeated checking of weight after and before each meal, and spending excess amount of time in front of the mirror.

Dressing Self-Consciously is a Sign of Anorexia

An anorexic patient believes himself or herself to be excessively fat and therefore does not dress up in a proper manner, rather chooses to wear baggy clothes, which do not make the patient self-conscious.

Deceptive Behavior Around Food

Anorexia patients are generally known to show deceptive behavior around food, that is they avoid eating in public and prefer eating in secret. Piling wrappers in the bins are a sign of such secret eating; whereas in the public eye the patient takes the stance of not being hungry.

Eating Very Slowly

Anorexic patients tend to forget to enjoy the food and meal times become a torment for them and the same is easily visible through their behavior on the table. Cutting the food into really small bites and chewing each single piece with imposed slowness, eating with teaspoons and secretly throwing out food are some of the common hints or signs of anorexia.

Continual Denial of Hunger is a Sign of Anorexia

Other than throwing out food and not being able to enjoy the food, another sign of an anorexic patient is continuously denying being hungry.


  1. National Eating Disorders Association – “Anorexia Nervosa” (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/anorexia)
  2. Mayo Clinic – “Anorexia nervosa” (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/symptoms-causes/syc-20353591)
  3. HelpGuide – “Anorexia Nervosa: Causes, Types, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention” (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa.htm)
  4. WebMD – “Anorexia Nervosa Affecting Kidneys: Risk Factors, Causes, Complications, Tests, Treatment” (https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa-affecting-kidneys-risk-factors-causes-complications-tests-treatment)
  5. National Institute of Mental Health – “Anorexia Nervosa” (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/index.shtml)

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2023

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