Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Medicine Central™ is a quick-consult mobile and web resource that includes diagnosis, treatment, medications, and follow-up information on over 700 diseases and disorders, providing fast answers—anytime, anywhere. Explore these free sample topics:

Medicine Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



  • Restriction of energy intake leading to significantly low weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health, with intense fear of weight gain and body image disturbance. Significantly low weight is defined as weight that is less than minimally normal/expected.
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), divides anorexia into two types:
    • Restricting type: not engaged in binge eating or purging behaviors for last 3 months
    • Binge eating/purging type: regularly engages in binge eating or purging behaviors (last 3 months)
  • System(s) affected: cardiovascular, endocrine, metabolic, gastrointestinal, nervous, reproductive
  • Severity of anorexia nervosa (AN) is based on BMI (per DSM-5):
    • Mild: BMI ≥17 kg/m2
    • Moderate: BMI 16.00 to 16.99 kg/m2
    • Severe: BMI 15.00 to 15.99 kg/m2
    • Extreme: BMI <15 kg/m2


  • Predominant age: 13 to 20 years
  • Predominant sex: female > male (10:1 female-to-male ratio)

8 to 19 women/2 men per 100,000 per year

  • 0.4% in women
  • Less is known; however, an estimate suggests 0.3% in men (higher in gay and bisexual men).

Etiology and Pathophysiology

  • Complex relationship among genetic, biologic, environmental, psychological, and social factors that result in the development of this disorder
  • Subsequent malnutrition may lead to multiorgan damage.
  • Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine neuronal systems are implicated.

  • Underlying genetic vulnerability is likely but not well understood; some evidence of higher concordance rates in monozygotic twins than in dizygotic
  • First-degree female relative with eating disorder increases risk 6- to 10-fold.

Risk Factors

  • Female gender
  • Adolescence
  • Body dissatisfaction
  • Perfectionism
  • Negative self-evaluation
  • Academic pressure
  • Severe life stressors
  • Participation in sports or artistic activities that emphasize leanness or involve subjective scoring: ballet, running, wrestling, figure skating, gymnastics, cheerleading, weight lifting
  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Family history of substance abuse, affective disorders, or eating disorder

General Prevention

Prevention programs can reduce risk factors and future onset of eating disorders.

  • Target adolescents and young women 15 years of age or older.
  • Encourage realistic and healthy weight management strategies and attitudes.
  • Promote self-esteem.
  • Reduce focus on thin as ideal.
  • Decrease co-occurring anxiety/depressive symptoms and improve stress management.

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Mood disorder (major depression)
  • Social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Substance abuse disorder
  • High rates of cluster C personality disorders

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Anorexia Nervosa." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116864/all/Anorexia_Nervosa.
Anorexia Nervosa. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116864/all/Anorexia_Nervosa. Accessed April 26, 2019.
Anorexia Nervosa. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116864/all/Anorexia_Nervosa
Anorexia Nervosa [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 26]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116864/all/Anorexia_Nervosa.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Anorexia Nervosa ID - 116864 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116864/all/Anorexia_Nervosa PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -