Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa (say "an-uh-RECK-see-uh nur-VOH-suh") is an eating disorder that causes a person to eat very little because of an intense fear of gaining weight. People who have it refuse to maintain a normal weight and can become dangerously thin. If it goes on for a long time, it can cause serious health problems or even death.

People who have anorexia often don't see or believe that they have a problem. It is usually up to their loved ones to get help for them. Early treatment is important. The longer this problem goes on, the harder it is to overcome.

Last Revised: September 27, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & W. Stewart Agras, MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.