Unintentional Anorexia Nervosa

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2007 Volume 18, Number 6
©2007 Gürze Books

In certain individuals, unintentional weight loss may be as powerful a trigger for anorexia nervosa (AN) as extreme dieting and food restriction. Drs. Arnold Andersen of the University of Iowa, and Dr. Beth Brandenburg of the University of Minnesota recently reported their study of a series of patients who had inadvertently lost weight. Their dramatic weight loss followed events such as the death of a loved one or parasitic infections, or appeared as a side effect of medication or surgery. None of the patients had intended to lose weight, but all developed a morbid fear of fatness and/or a relentless drive for thinness. The study of 66 consecutive outpatients evaluated at an eating disorders diagnostic clinic showed that 7.6% of the patients had unintentionally developed AN. The study was reported at the annual meeting of the Eating Disorders Research Society in Pittsburgh.

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