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Anorexia Nervosa - Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery. Our Paramus, NJ Center for Discovery specializes in treating this Eating Disorder.

Anorexia Nervosa Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery | Paramus, NJ

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa, also referred to as anorexia, is a complex eating disorder that affects millions of people each year in the United States and around the world. It is characterized by a preoccupation with body weight or shape and limiting food intake, resulting in unhealthy weight loss. It may also be accompanied by other behaviors such as vomiting after meals, the use of substances like diet pills, or intense exercising. Though it often develops during teenage years or adolescence, anorexia does not discriminate between age, gender, race or class.

What are the signs and symptoms of
Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia is a complicated disorder, and it is important to know the signs and symptoms to look for. Below is a list of common characteristics found in individuals who suffer from it:

  • Feeling worried, preoccupied or sad about body shape or weight

  • Significant fear of gaining weight or frequently checking weight

  • Limiting or restricting the types or amount of food eaten

  • Feeling guilty after eating

  • Avoidance of eating with others

  • Exercising intensely or taking diet pills, laxatives, diuretics, or other substances to control body shape or weight

  • Perceiving their body differently compared to the way others view them

  • Enjoyment of cooking for others but not for themselves

  • Difficulty fulfilling commitments or responsibilities due to exercise habits, eating patterns, or thoughts about appearance.

  • Isolating from others or spending more time alone

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"The staff and therapists are wonderful, I do believe that they truly care about their patients and support them and their families on the road to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with and eating disorder, I highly recommend Center for Discovery."

Ruth R.
Discovery Alumni
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What causes Anorexia Nervosa?

Because of its complexity, several different factors can contribute to the development of anorexia. Some of these may include:

  • Biological factors, such as genetics

  • Emotional factors, such as increased sensitivity to changes or low self-esteem

  • Cultural and societal factors, such as images in the media

  • Interpersonal factors, such as difficulty expressing feelings or a history of being teased

No one factor is responsible for causing anorexia, and it is important for loved ones to know they are not the cause. It develops from a multitude of factors that are unique to each individual, and understanding this becomes critical when a person seeks treatment.

What are the medical consequences?

Because each individual has unique circumstances, specific goals for eating disorder treatment will vary from person to person. More generally, eating disorder treatment might help someone:

  • Identify underlying factors which may have contributed to the development of the eating disorder

  • Understand the purpose of the eating disorder and why it has persisted

  • Develop a new set of skills to navigate one’s life and effectively cope with emotions and stress

  • Improve communication, connection, and relationships with loved ones

  • Heal the relationship with food through nutrition education and experiential activities

In addition, eating disorders frequently co-exist with other issues, such as depression, anxiety, or the effects of trauma. It is absolutely essential that the eating disorder and any other co-occurring disorders are simultaneously addressed and treated in order for the individual to fully recover.

Take a tour of our Paramus, NJ Eating Disorder Treatment Center

Center For Discovery Eating Disorder Program Paramus, NJ specializes in outpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.

For more information, resources, or to consult with an eating disorder treatment specialist, call 866.482.3876

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Do I have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Does my loved one have an eating disorder?
Take the Free Eating Disorder Quiz

Why is anorexia treatment important and what to expect in the eating disorder treatment program.  

Anorexia can lead to profound life-threatening medical and psychological consequences and often coexists with other issues, such as depression and anxiety. It has the highest death rate of all mental health conditions, and 1 in 5 deaths from anorexia are from suicide. If an individual is suffering from anorexia, it is critical that they get professional help from an eating disorder specialist as soon as possible. Experts in the field of eating disorders have found that early intervention and intensive treatment can significantly improve a person’s chance of recovery.


  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  • ANAD: Eating disorder statistics. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  • Arcelus, J., Mitchell, A. J., Wales, J., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Mortality rates in patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders: a meta-analysis of 36 studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 724-731.
  • NEDA: Anorexia nervosa. Retrieved January 20, 2017.