Anorexia Nervosa: Just The Facts


Someone with anorexia will see a distorted image. | Source:

Anorexia, or Anorexia Nervosa as it’s technically called, is a much bigger problem than a lot of the world admits–and a much more complicated one than a lot of the world realizes.

Anorexics don’t just not eat for the sake of being thin–though that’s certainly a factor. Many sufferers, in addition to feeling pressure from their peers or the media to look perfect, simply struggle to find control in their lives. If they’re under pressure and stress elsewhere, many turn to anorexia as a means of control: even if they can’t control everything else, they can and will monitor their food intake and often stop eating.

Right now, roughly 10 million women and girls are suffering from some sort of eating disorder. What’s even more disturbing is that in terms of anorexia, only 1 in 10 sufferers will enter treatment. Here are more disturbing facts on anorexia, its effects on your body and mind, and just how many people are affected by it.

*One in 200 women suffers from anorexia. If that doesn’t sound like a lot, picture your graduating class. Chances are, someone in it is suffering in silence.

*Anorexia often stems from depression. Fifty to 75 percent of anorexics report feeling depressed.

anorexia nervosa facts

One reason why Drew Barrymore is always so happy go lucky is her healthy relationship with food and appreciation for her body! | Source:

*In the U.S., women and girls ages 15 to 24 are 12 times more likely to die from anorexia than any other cause of death.

*Over 85 percent of anorexia victims are diagnosed before they hit 20 years old.

*Many people who have an eating disorder continue to struggle with it throughout their lives, but getting help does make it easier.

*Many anorexia sufferers see their disease as a lifestyle choice, and try to lure other people toward dangerous anorexia so they don’t feel so isolated. These victims often host pro-ana blogs, which many search engines and platforms, such as tumblr, have banned.

*Anorexia is often directly related to a distorted body image. Many sufferers literally don’t see what the rest of us do when they look in the mirror: think of it as living in the fun house from Hell.

*Anorexia makes you look bad. Extreme weight loss isn’t the only symptom. Without enough calories and nutrients, your kkin becomes dry, you grow more body hair (because your body temperature is lower and your hormones are out of whack), and your hair thins. And those are only the obvious things.

*Guys aren’t immune. There’s a .3% chance for males to develop anorexia.

*Signs of anorexia aren’t just physical. There are more signals than weight loss that you or a friend may have a problem. If you think your friend hasn’t been treating her body right, tell her you’re worried about her and want to help.

*It’s so important to get help. About one in five anorexia sufferers will die from the disease or its complications.

*Anorexia can delay puberty. A lack of nutrition screws with your hormones, which can delay development and, as previously mentioned, stop you from getting your period.

*Anorexia can ruin your smile. If you’re not getting enough nutrition, your teeth can and will rot without enamel to sustain and protect them.


Now this is a message we can get behind, but for many with anorexia is easier said than done. | Source: about-face.lorg

*Anorexia can actually make you gain weight. Undereating slows your metabolism, so your body clings to every possible calorie it can get.

If you or a friend suffer from anorexia nervosa, or any other eating disorder, talk to a parent, or other trusted adult, or you can find help here.

If you need a little bit of support, look no further, girl.

Posted in: Body & Health, Body Image, Fast Facts, Health Facts, Health, Sex & Relationships, Help&Advice, Just the Facts, Mental Health Facts, Your Body, Your Life
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  • Zayah

    Ana becomes your best friend. She’s a b**ch, but soon she’s all you have. She’s that (not so) little voice in your head, that’s always telling that you can be better, that you don’t need that food, and often, that you’re a disgusting pig. And it hurts.

    What I find irritating is that everyone thinks it’s about being skinny. It’s not. Don’t ask me what it is exactly, but it’s not the food. It may start out as “just a diet”, or an ” urge to lose weight”, but it escalates into something else.

    It becomes a way of life. An obsession. A way of achievement. You lose the passion and joy of anything else. Your life becomes reliant of numbers on a scale. Always couting calories. Always restricting. Always hating yourself.

    And it’s horrible. Completely horrible.

  • Jenny

    It’s almost like you’re on a Ferris wheel and can’t come off. Sometimes you get stuck at the top. And you feel fine enough to eat what you want, but then it starts moving again and you feel like your in a constant battle with yourself about eating choices. Calories become your main priority. Your body starts to become weak. Numb. And eventually you can’t even bring yourself to care whether you eat or not. You look in the mirror and point out every flaw. You constantly worry about what people are saying about you, and when someone tells you to eat you feel like doing the exact opposite. I haven’t figured out yet how to get off the Ferris wheel.. But that’s what it feels like.

  • anonymous

    Its up to people if they want to eat or not, noone can force them to do something they dont want to do.
    Its human society, people can decide what’s best for their body… But being anorexic and making yourself starve is not the way to live. If it makes you feel good, then who cares what other people think, but dont hurt yourself in the process. Its not worth it. TOLD THAT BY ANONYMOUS:)

  • Shorty

    It’s that guy that called you fat(even thought he was jk) but you can’t get it out of ur head! It’s that friend that said you were fat(but she was jk) these things get in ur head confuse you make you lose perspective on your body you don’t even know who is jk and who really thinks you are fat!!!! Eventually you start to believing that you are fat even though you are average…… You starve yourself……2/11/13

  • Emma

    One of my best friend was anorectic and was sent to america and was in the hospital for a very long time

  • Evangeline Rose

    at one time i went through an anorexic stage. i thought i was fat and ugly and a complete cow! i lost nearly 40 pounds in 3 months! though i do feel great since i shed the weight, because i was a little chunky, and i now eat healthy and exercise nearly everyday….don’t let it control you please! get help because i had to pull myself out of the hole along with my best friend because we fell into it together!

    • kiki

      its ahrd.

  • justine

    I suffer from this its difficult being so young and no one understands it… in school I eat a yogurt for lunch 100 calories a day I go home run do my daily exercise then say I don’t feel good and go to bed if I’m forced to eat I will exercise for about two hours..I am not promoting this to others its horrible but hunger pains have become an addiction I’m only thirteen and I weigh 106 lbs. I look in the mirror and see a whale and I cry it is difficult living with this disorder everytime I eat I’m tempted to throw up but I convince myself it is not worth it. I hope for recover soon but I won’t tell anyone just yet

    • Hakan

      I think that a lot of people who are sufnerifg from anorexia had problematic life during childhood, parents wanted from them too much. Keeping strict track on their weight helps them on crerating their ideal world in which they think that they will be ideal for others and will satisfy them.

    • nikki

      i feel for you i am only 13 and i have it

  • Bailee

    I am only 14 and i lost 40 pounds in 3-4 months. I’ve always been really tall and been uncomfortable with that but since i was 12 i had gained weight and had gotten pretty heavy. Boys didnt like me, i never felt pretty and so i basically became depressed so i started to skip meals and not eat and then it got to the point where i wasnt eating at all just to try to lose weight and feel pretty. I still struggle with body image and can’t eat much without feeling incredibly guilty lie im going to gain all the weight back for some reason. It totally pisses me off when people are like just go eat some food. It is not that freaking easy. It is totally a mental thing and you trick yourself into thinking that your not hungry and that food is a terrible thing. It really has messed up my period too its so random and skips.

  • Mercury

    Anorexia is a disease, not a dniteig method. Most anorexics are that way not because they are trying to lose weight, but because they have begun to use food as a coping method for underlying emotional issues.Most people with anorexia, or any other eating disorder, never fully recover. As someone who has struggled with anorexia, I can tell you first hand that I will never recover . I am in recovery. For me, and I think for most people who have struggled with eating disorders, it is more like a disease that goes into remission. But regardless, it is never a diet and never really about losing weight, although that is how it manifests. Anorexics can lose varying amounts of weight, but not in a healthy way. Eating disorders have serious physical consequences.As for dieters, they frequently gain weight back because they have followed a plan to try to reach a short term goal that, once they reach, they stop following.If you’re trying to lose weight, please practice a sustainable healthy diet and exercise regimen. The diets that are most likely to work are those that create real-life change to your current eating patterns but are easy to implement!If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, please reach out for help. Talk to someone you trust, such as a teacher, a parent, or a counselor. As I said, anorexia is not a diet. It’s a serious disorder and requires professional medical and emotional treatment.

  • Marie

    I get so angry everytime I see people comment on this issue. I have and continue to suffer from an eating disorder and everytime I hear someone say “just eat something” i want to punch them in the face. ANOREXIA IS NOT A CHOICE. It is a mental thing. Or when people look at anorexics and don’t feel bad for them, because “oh they do it to themselves” or they just want to be thin. It’s about control, stress, depression. It’s not something you can just solve with eating more. Yes it is unhealthy and yes I haven’t had a normal period ever and it rarely happens anymore, which scares me to death, but I can’t just eat, even if i’m hungry

  • carol

    i was doing some research about this topic and i found alot of intersting facts about the issue.

    • ana

      wheres the research?

  • bitchplease

    I haven’t eaten regularly for 6 months. It might not be the worst case of it, but in these six months I’ve lost almost thirty pounds. I’m not more comfortable with myself because everytime I look in the mirror I feel worse about myself.

  • Emily

    I’m only 15, but I have already had a horrible experience with anorexia. I’m so much better now but I still always think of going back. Am I cured? I dont think so but have I helped myself yes. The reason I got so skinny…though i wasnt over weight in the slighest bit when i became anorexic, was i stopped eating and worked out for hours every night. Basically, words hurt and i think for my now understanding of my own experience, that not everyones mind works the same. when you joke about someones appearence be sure they know its a joke even if everyone knows its a joke they might not. These jokes hurt and everyone tried to explain it was a joke but i just couldnt see it. if you are sruggling with this problem feel free to contact me for help or advice

  • Tasha Armsrtong

    Hey! So, I have a question. If anorexia can actually make you gain weight because your body clings to every calorie, then how do people with this disease become so skinny?

    • LizeRouche

      That’s only the case if you don’t excercise… They’re skinny because they over excersise to burn off those calories!

    • Alyssa

      It doesn’t, usually adults say things like that just to scare teens into not wanting to become anorexic. I am, so trust me, I haven’t gained a pound.

    • Sadie

      Often when people heavily restrict their intake, two things will happen: 1.) They will start craving energy rich food, and 2.) Their metabolism will slow down to try and conserve energy to keep vital organs running. A lot of yo-yo dieters may end a long period of heavily restricted intake by returning to the energy rich food they are craving, such as hamburgers, chips or chocolate- because their metabolisms are slowed these foods will cause them to gain weight more than they might normally. If a person returns to eating a healthy amount in a way that allows their metabolisms to adjust, they will be less likely to experience the “body holding onto everything it can get” weight gain. The cycle of craving energy rich food following periods of restricted intake can often play into the starve/binge/purge cycle of purging anorexics and some bulimics.

      People may also find that they appear to gain a lot of weight very quickly when returning to normal diets because they have become dehydrated without realising it. A lot of the weight that comes off with crash dieting is water weight.

      Some sufferers of anorexia may find that when they begin eating normally again, the number on the scale will jump up quickly, which can seem frightening at first and may scare a lot of people away from attempting recovery, but it doesn’t need to. Once their bodies get used to receiving regular food, weight gain often slows down significantly, and they may even find that where at one point in time they were gaining 1-2kg per week, their weight may on occasions plateau, increase by only a tiny amount, or even drop a little; during recovery it is not uncommon for this to occur and a dietician may need to continuously increase a sufferers meal plan so that they continue to gain a healthy amount of weight to restore their health.

      Recovering sufferers often need to be placed on high calorie diets and may be recommended to eat what can seem like huge amounts of food, but their bodies will not manage this energy in the same way that a healthy person’s might. A huge portion of the energy they consume will go towards repairing organs and muscle, with less being stored as fat than may occur in a person who has not been suffering from anorexia. The entire system is affected negatively by a starvation diet, and it can take quite a while to repair the damage that is done.

      Metabolisms cannot be ruined permanently, this is a myth. I know many recovered sufferers and not one of them is overweight, or even “chubby”.

  • ChickInPink

    I’m almost anorexic. But it ain’t out of will. I just cannot eat. Not much. I start eating then follow it for a week or so, but then after 2-3 weeks am back to no food 🙁 I don’t like to not eat. But I just can’t 🙁

  • Rhube

    Wow, Lauren, yes, let’s silence the person that was hurt by it. The person who it addresses, and who found it offensive. How are you ignoring my view, as a person with an eating disorder?
    The term anorexic is offensive, to me, as a person with anorexia. It’s dehumanizing. By saying it’s not offensive, you are discounting the fact that I just said that I found it offensive.
    By focusing on the negative physical effects, in a shaming manor, this does nothing to deter people from developing eating disorders. People will still get them, now they’ll just be even more scared, ashamed, and obsessive.
    This is preventing anything, this is supposed to be informational. If it was meant to prevent, then it is doing a bad job. You can’t tell me to accept any help people are willing to give us, even if it’s not affective. I am saying that it’s not affective, as somebody who knows first hand. As somebody who this affects deeply. And you are dismissing my view?
    And trust that I do write my own. I do feel this article isn’t good enough, and I do write my own. Get off your high horse, and listen to the voices you’re hurting.

    • Lauren

      Welcome to the internet, Rhube. Not everything is rainbows and butterflies, okay? I disagreed with your opinion and I told you why. Calm your tits.

      • Rhube

        How is my disagreeing with you any different from you disagreeing with me?
        You’re arguing with me, and then telling me to just deal with it, rather than argue back.
        You’re saying something is not offensive, when I just said that I find it offensive. That’s what “offensive” means. It’s a word used to describe something that somebody takes offense to. And I took offense to it. And you basically said I didn’t.
        I disagreed with your opinion, and told you why, and as a person who is not as knowledgeable about this subject, you should accept what I said, rather than trying to silence me. I honestly don’t understand how you can be so ignorant as to tell somebody to get over it, and not be hurt by something. It’s not that easy. I feel sorry that you think so highly of yourself that you think your opinion is the only one that matters, even about subject you clearly know nothing about.

    • Lisa

      Okay, I can only answer based on my own pnoersal experience, and the weight and age entered correlates with the time that I was diagnosed and in treatment for anorexia nervosa. (about a year ago)age: 16height 5’5weight: 115 (at my healthiest)The first time I experienced dizziness and fatigue to the point of blacking out was around the beginning of my disorder when I first started restricting. I had lost about 7 lbs, and was severely dehydrated, although not yet malnourished. I weighed about 108 lbs.My family doctor diagnosed me with anorexia when I lost more than 85% of my ideal body weight (101 lbs)I was admitted into the hospital and the hospitals eating disorder program when I had lost more than 65% of my ibw, and was at my lowest. (79 lbs)I was released from the hospital and into an inpatient ed program when my blood was stabilized and my weight was deemed sufficient to leave the intensive care unit. (89 lbs)I was *medically stable* at 74% of my ibw (94lbs. This meant that while still anorexic, I was at a high enough weight where I was no longer required by law to be in an intensive care facility.The treatment center was comfortable with releasing me at 82% of my ibw (103 lbs) on a weight gain plan to be followed at home while attending an intensive outpatient program. at age 16 I was 5’5.5 and I believe I shrunk about .5 of an inch during the entire ordeal. I am currently 17 years old, 108 lbs, 5’5 and still attending therapy and nutrition appointments in addition to school. the disease and symptoms varies by the individual and the type of disorder he/she is dealing with. hope I was helpful and good luck with your book

  • InItForTheFun

    I feel so bad for those people. Eat more food <3 !!!!! I dont think I could become anorexic because i get so hungry so easily 🙁 I feel bad for all the people who can't wake up in the morning and just be happy with what they have. A smile already on there face. And, my thing is, the media wants no stomaches, big butts, and big boobs. when your starving yourself, you lose wait all around, so you just have no shape, no hair and bad teeth. Is that really worth it? Doesn't sound like it to me!!

    • BlueWhale1

      You’re comment brought a smile to my face. I’m not a sufferer of Anorexia but I seriously hate my body. And when you said that you could never become Anorexia because you feel hungry easily I know what you feel like and I feel the same. I just wish that I could feel some happiness about how I look, I don’t want to feel ugly and fat, so thank you for making me smile. Even though I don’t know you and you don’t know me it means a lot! 🙂

    • Bailee

      @InItForTheFun it is not as simple as just eating. it is a DIESEASE. trust me i know ive tried just eating and then it makes me feel awful about myself! It’s a very hard thing to overcome and no matter how much weight i lose when i look in the mirror i still see myself as being fat and not thin enough.

  • Rhube

    I think a lot of the language in this article is shaming and offensive. Saying “anorexics” defines sufferers by their disease. (Like saying “schizophrenics”, it’s offensive. I am more than this disease, I am a person who has this disease.)
    And saying things like “anorexia can make you gain weight” or “anorexia can ruin your smile” is shaming and scare tactics that make me feel even shittier for having an eating disorder that I often feel no control over. It makes me feel like you’re trying to woo me away from something I have been struggling with for over half my life, by using superficial tactics that will scare me, and others by threatening our body images, and using potential insecurity against us.
    This article is poorly worded, and unfair. I honestly feel attacked, despite the fact that it’s trying to create understanding and sympathy.

    • Lauren

      The point of this article is to show young girls that anorexia is bad. Yes, they should have focused on more of the internal problems instead of physical, but most girls are only focused on their looks. Stop whining. You should be happy that people are trying to prevent other girls from having a disease. The term anorexic isn’t offensive, it’s the truth. A person with anorexia is an anorexic. A person with schizophrenia is schizophrenic. Oh and a person with diabetics? Yeah, they are diabetic. If you’re going to let words hurt you then you are not going to get very far in this world. If you want to make a difference and you feel this article isn’t good enough, make your own.

      • Karla

        It’s diabetes, not diabetics.

    • Karla

      I don’t find it offensive to be called an anorexic. It’s a scientific way of naming and classifying what it is we have. And using scare tactics, yes that’s wrong because they shouldn’t scare us with that, but it’s also to send a message about why it is unsafe for us to be doing this to our bodies. But you personally shouldn’t be scared by these tactics because you are anorexic, and it is your body. So you may do as you wish, but the article is also trying to make you more aware of the consequences.