What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that is especially prevalent among young women and, increasingly, young men. Marked by a distorted sense of body image and extreme voluntary starvation—and closely associated with perfectionism and depression—it is the most deadly psychiatric disorder. Anorexia is highly resistant to treatment, and when the starvation becomes life-threatening, the usual recourse is hospitalization with forced feeding.

Recent posts on Anorexia Nervosa

How Does Metabolic Rate Really Change After Anorexia? Part 2

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 31, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
What is the relation between energy intake, bodyweight, and metabolic rate in the later stages of recovery from anorexia?

How Does Metabolic Rate Really Change After Anorexia? Part 1

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 30, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
What is the relation between energy intake, bodyweight, and metabolic rate in recovery from anorexia?
PTSD and Its Relationship to Eating Disorders

PTSD and Its Relationship to Eating Disorders

It is estimated that at least 30% of all eating disorder sufferers have been sexually abused. Eating Disorder symptoms replay the trauma.

Is There a Link Between Anorexia and Narcissism?

An academic study found that ‘vulnerable’ narcissism tended to be associated with eating disorder symptoms.

Twelve Hours a World Champion, One More Lesson Learnt

By Emily T. Troscianko on March 01, 2016 in A Hunger Artist
A little story about powerlifting, bodies, and balance.

Susan Raeburn on Group Psychotherapy

The future of mental health interview series continues with Susan Raeburn on group psychotherapy.

Will You Lose Weight By Giving Up Meat?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on January 11, 2016 in Animals and Us
Most diets fail. This new study compares vegetarianism and veganism as strategies for shedding excess pounds. The results are encouraging.

When New Year's Resolutions Turn Deadly

By Harriet Brown on January 10, 2016 in The Truth About Your Health
For some people, New Year's resolutions can trigger a nightmare that never ends.

Sleep and Dreaming in Anorexia

By Emily T. Troscianko on December 31, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
What can we learn about eating disorders and ourselves from attending to our dreams?

The Road Long Past Recovery…Called Life?

By Emily T. Troscianko on December 17, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
How stopping eating something sweet before bedtime can be a decision against anorexia rather than for it – and how a bit of ruthlessness can make space for future freedom.

How Scary Are the Mental Health Risks of Vegetarianism?

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on December 15, 2015 in Animals and Us
While most vegetarians don't have histories of psychiatric disorders, some studies have linked meat-avoidance with mental illness. But how strong is the link and why does it exist?

Cracks in the Firmament

By Paul Rhodes Ph.D. on December 10, 2015 in Post Clinical
Perfectionism, girls and anorexia

How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

By Emily T. Troscianko on November 09, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
What should you do if you think or know that someone you care about has an eating disorder? What shouldn’t you do? What can you do?

The Mysteries of Habit

By David Hellerstein M.D. on November 02, 2015 in Heal Your Brain
Neuroscience research brings together seemingly unrelated conditions...anorexia, OCD and substance use disorders...which may share common -- and difficult-to-modify -- brain circuits related to habit learning.

The Importance of Accepting Painful Emotions:

Getting good with feeling bad goes a long way in the recovery from an eating disorder. Patients often have pre-existing anxiety and/or depression. But, disengagement from emotions is different from an anxious or depressed mood. Feelings matter before, during and after recovery. Emotional awareness and expression in relationships are key in recovery and in bonding.

Is Anorexia a Choice?

By Alexis Conason Psy.D. on October 29, 2015 in Eating Mindfully
New brain-imaging research sheds light on the question of how people struggling with eating disorders make decisions around food.

Medical Marijuana: The Science Behind THC and CBD

By Ralph Ryback M.D. on October 19, 2015 in The Truisms of Wellness
Although marijuana remains a Schedule I substance with the Drug Enforcement Agency, medicinal marijuana continues to make headway in today’s medical society and is stirring up controversy. Only in the past couple of decades have scientists begun to understand the specific medical benefits of the two main ingredients in marijuana: THC and CBD.

Why Control Won’t Bring You Happiness

By Emily T. Troscianko on September 28, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
The process of successful recovery can be split into three phases: deciding and beginning to eat more and get better; continuing to eat more and get better physically and psychologically; and allowing recovery to flow into the life beyond it. Each bears a distinct relationship to the idea of control.

Manipulation in Families with Eating Disorders

It is extraordinarily difficult and wearing for family members to deal with a child with an eating disorder. When manipulation enters, it is easy to lose recovery ground. Understanding and responding to manipulation with compassion and authentic expression can be achieved.

How Often Should You Weigh Yourself?

Dieters have been discouraged from frequent weighing because lack of progress can decrease motivation and weighing oneself may be linked to eating disorders. It's been suggested that dieters limit their weighing to once per week but new research suggests that this advice may be misguided.

A New Approach for Chronic Anorexia Nervosa

By Paul Rhodes Ph.D. on September 10, 2015 in Post Clinical
Can a focus on quality of life, rather than a cure, offer new hope for those suffering from severe and enduring anorexia nervosa?

How the "Bonding Potion” Oxytocin May Cure Anorexia Nervosa

Oxytocin is widely known as the bonding hormone for its effects on love and lust between two people in a relationship. Many studies have been performed to determine whether this love potion can aid in psychological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and depression.Oxytocin is making a big impact in science and is currently being researched to treat eating disorders.

Taking, Losing, and Letting Go of Control in Anorexia

By Emily T. Troscianko on August 18, 2015 in A Hunger Artist
Control is central to many experiences of anorexia. How might exploring unpredictability help us uncover its dark sides and weak spots?

Eating Disorders Online: Support or Triggers?

Much of the public learned about pro-ana and pro-mia websites from an episode of the Oprah Winfrey show back in 2001. When people go online for information and support about eating disorders, does what they find help or make them worse?

5 Ways to Measure the Fitness of Your Exercise Mindset

Moderate exercise is associated with benefits on mood, anxiety, cognition, and sleep. But how much exercise is too much exercise? Here are 5 ways to evaluate your exercise pattern and mindset to ensure that you are working towards true physical and psychological health.


In and out of psychotherapy since age 14.

Do You Have an Undiagnosed Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is a time bomb waiting to go off—and it may be about to go off in your life.

All People With Eating Disorders Are Underweight, Right?

By Cortney S. Warren Ph.D. on April 02, 2015 in Naked Truth
In today’s society, most people have been personally affected by someone who has struggled with an eating disorder. Yet, our image of the typical person struggling with an eating disorder is often incredibly narrow and often inaccurate. We must broaden our view of what a person with an eating disorder “looks like” to honestly understand their experiences.

New DSM-5 Disorder Spurs FDA Drug Approval, Expanded Market

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on February 14, 2015 in Side Effects
A drug-maker's blunt challenge: “increase the numbers of patients diagnosed.”

Recovering from Anorexia: How and Why Not to Stop Halfway

By Emily T. Troscianko on February 22, 2014 in A Hunger Artist
How do you get past the in-between stage of having regained some weight but probably not enough, past the distressing limbo between sickness and health? What do you do when you know you're not well again yet but you fear going any further?