Anorexia Nervosa

Diagnosis of anorexia is based on symptoms and behavior, although a physician will run several tests of the blood chemistry and functions of the liver, kidneys and thyroid to rule out any other cause of the extreme weight loss. Addison’s disease, Celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease can cause similar symptoms of weight loss.

While it has undergone some criticism, anorexia is also considered a clinical psychiatric disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and is defined as having an intense fear of gaining weight, a refusal to maintain a body weight above 85% of normal for age and body type, three consecutive missed periods, a refusal to admit to the seriousness of the weight loss, and an undue influence of body shape and weight on a person’s self image.