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Anorexia nervosa is refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat even though underweight Disturbance in the way in which ones body weight or shape is experienced undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight This condition is both a physical illness and a psychiatric illness Anorexia nervosa can be a very severe illness including a risk of death from starvation This illness occurs most often in young women About 5 to 10 of people with anorexia nervosa are men Larson Anorexia nervosa means in Greek and Latin roots lack of appetite of nervous origin Usually appears in early or middle adolescence A girl or young woman begins to starve herself and sometimes exercise compulsively as well Her weight falls and her health deteriorates but she continues to deny that her behavior is abnormal or dangerous She may say she feels or looks fat although everyone else can see that she is gaunt To conceal her weight loss from parents and others she may wear baggy clothes or secretly pocket and discard food instead of eating it Despite her refusal to eat and despite the misleading term anorexia her appetite is usually normal at least at first Her reasons for rejecting food are a mystery that researchers are still trying to solve Anorexia According to the current diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association a woman is suffering from clinical anorexia not just dieting or fasting when her weight has fallen to 15 below the normal range and she has not menstruated for at least three months Sometimes the diagnosis is made because of drowsiness and lethargy that are affecting her schoolwork Other symptoms are dry skin brittle nails and hair languor fine downy hair on the limbs constipation anemia and swollen joints The level of
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