Students
Parents
Faculty and Staff
Care Providers

Information on Mental Health Disorders
Tools and Checklists

Anorexia Nervosa

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia Nervosa (commonly referred to simply as anorexia) is a serious mental health condition in which an individual has an excessive fear of being overweight, tends to overemphasize the importance of her/his body’s appearance, and refuses to eat enough to maintain a healthy body weight.

People with anorexia maintain a low body weight either by restricting what their calorie intake (through extreme dieting or fasting), or by compensating for their calorie intake by intentional vomiting, and/or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, enemas or excessive exercise.

The lack of adequate nutrition caused by anorexia can damage major organs in the body, often leading to serious and sometimes fatal, medical complications. Also, compensatory techniques (e.g., purging, use of laxatives) can also cause very serious or fatal medical problems.

Among women with anorexia, amenorrhea, or the absence of normal menstrual cycles, is often a consequence.

Want to learn more about anorexia?

Check out these resources:

Are you concerned that you might have anorexia?

See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

UM Depression Center© Copyright 2003-2016 Regents of the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Health System web site does not provide specific medical advice and does not endorse any medical or professional service obtained through information provided on this site or any links to this site. Complete disclaimer and Privacy Statement.