Anorexia (or anorexia nervosa) is a serious mental illness where people keep their body weight low by dieting, vomiting, using laxatives or excessively exercising. People with anorexia usually feel that their problems are caused by what they look like. They think that they appear fat even though they may look slim or even painfully thin to others. Their morale becomes low and their health can be seriously affected. People affected by anorexia usually hide their behaviour from family and friends.
People with anorexia often have low self-confidence and poor self-esteem. They may see their weight loss as achieving a goal which can help increase their confidence and mood. It can also contribute to a feeling of gaining control over their body weight and shape.
As with other eating disorders, anorexia can be associated with depression, low self-esteem, alcohol misuse and self-harm. As they are not eating enough, people with anorexia may develop associated physical problems including poor circulation, brittle bones and hair loss, as well as kidney disease.