Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is affected by irregular eating patterns. It affects the health of the person both physically and psychologically, know how.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Apr 15, 2021Updated at: Apr 15, 2021
Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Life is full of challenges and short comings which we often face at different stages of our life. It is gives us both physical and mental pressure that has to be handles very carefully such that it does not affect our health. But many a times it gets out of hand and people are not able to control their express their thought process which leads them to mental disorders. You must have witnessed that people do not eat their meal properly or skip their meals when they are frustrated or angry. Anorexia Nervosa is similar kind of disorder which deals with mental conditioning and lack of food leasing to weight gain or loss.

Anorexia Nervosa

Even though the name of the disorder may sound heavy and complicated it is not that difficult to understand Expert Dr. Tanu Singh, Psychologist from Healthcare Clinic, Lucknow will help us understand what anorexia nervosa is and how does it affect our health. This is a mental disorder and many people come complaining about irregular eating habits and loss of interest in performing their daily tasks, mostly sitting idle. Most of them suffer from Anorexia Nervosa. It is categorised by abnormal weight gain or sometimes loss. 


The people who are too conscious about their weight and body shape often fall for Anorexia Nervosa reason being they always want to take control. Their constant struggle of reducing weight or gaining proper shape leads them to skip meals which further results in health issues. Some of them even vomit their food intentionally to reduce calories which causes imbalance of nutrition in body. Anorexia Nervosa is a mix of emotional distress and physical trauma leading to this disorder.

Symptoms of Anorexia Nervosa

Since it affects both mental and physical health, the signs are related to starvation. Food is the main culprit behind the emotional and behavioural changes of an unrealistic perception. People suffering from Anorexia Nervosa may not be able to point out these symptoms as they constantly try to put their body into shape and restrict their diet. They ignore these symptoms to fulfil their crazy idea of ideal body. It has both physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical symptoms are visible early in this disorder, they may include-

  • Dizziness 
  • Fainting
  • Insomnia
  • Absence of menstruation (In women)
  • Constant hair fall
  • Low blood pressure
  • Intolerance of cold
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling of arms or legs
  • Dry or yellowish skin
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of muscle mass


There can be more symptoms which can vary from person to person. Some patients may also have anorexia binge and purge. Others may have more vomiting, bad breath, increased facial hairs etc. If anyone around you has these symptoms, it is better to talk to them and take them to a psychologist. 

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Emotional and Psychological Symptoms may include-

  • Frequently skipping meals
  • Eating only “few” food items which they consider safe (low in fat or calories)
  • Adopting rigid meals or eating rituals
  • Spitting out food after chewing
  • Eating alone in private space
  • Lying about food intake
  • Repeated checking of weight of their body
  • Looking at mirror frequently to make out flaws
  • Covering up layers if clothes to look fit
  • Having lack of emotions
  • Irritability while talking
  • Reduced interest in sexual life

How Does Anorexia Nervosa Affect People?

A person suffering from Anorexia Nervosa associates food with guilt. That means whenever he/she eats something, be it healthy or unhealthy, they become guilt conscious and try to avoid it in whatever manner possible. 

They start avoiding their friends, avoid going in social gatherings and constantly think about flaws in their body. Even those people who have a fit body try to lose weight to become slimmer. Their way of idealizing perfect body shape never stops and this craze keeps on increasing. Anorexia affected people try to make out faults within themselves and regularly make changes to their routine. This often results in loss of interest in their daily life and work.

Anorexia Nervosa affects the people both ways. Some individuals experience atypical anorexia nervosa that they may not have a low body weight and try to cope up with ideal body shape. 


Causes of Anorexia Nervosa

The exact cause of it cannot be determined but it is normally the combine three factors which lead to this disorder-

Biological- Some people have genetic tendency to become perfectionist. They try to make their body also perfect and involve traits like sensitivity and perseverance in their actions.

Psychological- Some people with anorexia nervosa have obsession and compulsive personalities. This means that they are obsessed with a particular type of personality and try to make themselves exactly like that. Due to this they stick to very tight diet schedules which may not even suit their body. They have high levels of anxiety which makes them more stubborn.

Environmental factor- Since we try to follow western culture, we try to copy their lifestyle and diet. Western culture is more emphasised towards “thinness” and people who are thin are regarded as ideal. So therefore that peer pressure develops in people and they desire to achieve that level. This is more common in young generation specially girls. 

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Health Issues Due To Anorexia Nervosa

  • Heart problems such as valve collapse, heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Loss in bone density
  • Loss of muscle
  • Decreased testosterone
  • Gastrointestinal issues like constipation and nausea
  • Low blood potassium, sodium and chloride
  • Kidney issues


Anorexia Nervosa is disorder which is caused due to irregular eating patterns and psychological trauma. People going through this disorder may be facing some emotional stress which makes them rigid. They strive for a perfect ideal shape in their minds and try to locate faults in their body. This has both physical and psychological effect on their body. Most of the times they do not realise that it is affecting their body, so it is important that their family members or friends help them out. The best remedy is to see a psychologist so that they can make them come back to realistic approach. 

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